French doctors and press team visit Israel to learn emergency protocols


French doctors, accompanied with journalists, tour Israel’s emergency underground hospital at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to learn about emergency protocols enacted when dealing with mass casualties.

By Israel Hayom Staff


A delegation of French doctors arrived in Israel to learn about emergency protocols for hospitals in situations of mass casualties and terrorist attacks, French media reported.

The doctors and the accompanying press team visited the ninth floor underground at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, where there is a sheltered emergency room. The Israeli medical staff explained to their French counterparts that all 800 patients in the hospital, along with the medical equipment, can be relocated to the underground sheltered floors in less than an hour.

An emergency drill at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center - Photo: Tal Cohen 

An emergency drill at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center – Photo: Tal Cohen

The hospital’s underground space, which opened in 2011, spans 56,000 square meters (about 600,000 square feet) on four floors. The underground hospital is designed to withstand nuclear, chemical and biological warfare, as well as long-range missile attacks. All four floors are connected to water and electricity lines and have oxygen and ventilation systems operated by external fuel tanks, which allow the hospital to operate even if there are power and water outages.

“We test the hospital’s [emergency] preparedness at least twice per year,” Sourasky Emergency Medicine Director Dr. Pinchas Halpern told the visiting doctors and reporters. “Only a quick, carefully coordinated response allows as many lives as possible to be saved.”


France, forced recently to deal with a series of large-scale terrorist attacks, has expressed more interest in learning how Israel deals with mass-casualty attacks.

French Social Affairs and Health Minister Marisol Touraine is reportedly seeking “increased cooperation” between France and Israel. According to a report in French newspaper Le Figaro, due to more than two decades of terrorist attacks and wars, Israel has developed a “culture of risk.”

Health Ministry official Dr. Boaz Lev explained, “We prepare regularly for all kinds of existing threats — conventional, biological and nuclear.”

The French doctors were impressed by the fact that all relevant teams in the military, Magen David Adom emergency services, Israel Fire and Rescue Services staff and nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons teams work together throughout the year to prepare for every emergency scenario, from major terrorist attacks to epidemics.

“There is a written protocol for every scenario,” Lev said. “Every exercise ends with a review to assess our efficiency and to improve it, if needed.”


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