Health System Surge Capacity and Response to a Sudden Conflict

Environment > Disaster Preparedness6/27/2024 4:00 PM

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At 06:29 on 7 October 2023, Hamas forces attacked southern Israel from Gaza. The attacks resulted in over 3,000 casualties (wounded and dead) who were brought to hospitals, created a massive surge of patients, and pushed the capacity of hospitals to respond in the area to the brink. That day was a national holiday, and most healthcare facilities had reduced staffing. The first casualties arrived within an hour at the two closest medical facilities (level 1 and level 2 trauma centers), located approximately 40 and 20 km from the attacked sites.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) Emergency Operation Center (EOC) and the Home Front Command (HFC) coordinated patient management and transfers in and between hospitals and field evacuations by ambulances and military forces. The inflow of casualties to the hospitals under rocket attack, the absence of staff, and the distance from other medical facilities in the country created challenges for the local staff and the MoH. This presentation will provide an initial analysis of what happened, provide insights from the management level, and share lessons learned.

Speaker: Odeda Benin-Goren, PhD (CEO of ODRON)


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The mission of WADEM is the evidence-based improvement, education, and advocacy of emergency and disaster health care and disaster risk reduction.