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Terrorist attacks have occurred in Tel-Aviv that have caused mass-casualties.The objective of this study was to draw lessons from the medical response to an event that occurred on 19 January 2006, near the central bus station, Tel-Aviv, Israel. The lessons pertain to the management of primary triage, evacuation priorities, and rapid primary distribution between adjacent hospitals and the operational mode of the participating hospitals during the event.
Data were collected in formal debriefings both during and after the event. Data were analyzed to learn about medical response components, interactions, and main outcomes. The event is described according to Disastrous Incidents Systematic AnalysiS Through—Components, Interactions and Results (DISAST-CIR) methodology.
A total of 38 wounded were evacuated from the scene, including one severely injured, two moderately injured, and 35 mildly injured. The severe casualty was the first to be evacuated 14 minutes after the explosion. All of the casualties were evacuated from the scene within 29 minutes. Patients were distributed between three adjacent hospitals including one non-Level-1 Trauma Center that received mild casualties. Twenty were evacuated to the nearby, Level-1 Sourasky Medical Center, including the only severely injured patient. Nine mildly injured patients were evacuated to the Sheba Medical Center and nine to Wolfson Hospital, a non-Level-1 Trauma Center hospital. All the receiving hospitals were operated according to the mass-casualty incident doctrine.
When a mass-casualty incident occurs in the vicinity of more than one hospital, primary triage, evacuation priority decision-making, and rapid distribution of casualties between all of the adjacent hospitals enables efficient and effective containment of the event.
Medical systems worldwide are facing the new threat of morbidity associated with the deliberate dispersal of microbiological agents by terrorists. Rapid diagnosis and containment of this type of unannounced attack is based on the knowledge and capabilities of medical staff. In 2004, the knowledge of emergency department physicians of anthrax was tested. The average test score was 58%. Consequently, a national project on bioterrorism preparedness was developed. The aim of this article is to present the project in which medical knowledge was enhanced regarding a variety of bioterrorist threats, including cutaneous and pulmonary anthrax, botulinum, and smallpox.
In 2005, military physicians and experts on bioterrorism conducted special seminars and lectures for the staff of the hospital emergency department and internal medicine wards.Later, emergency department senior physicians were drilled using one of the scenarios.
Twenty-nine lectures and 29 drills were performed in 2005.The average drill score was 81.7%.The average score of physicians who attended the lecture was 86%, while those who did not attend the lectures averaged 78.3% (NS).
Emergency department physicians were found to be highly knowledgeable in nearly all medical and logistical aspects of the response to different bioterrorist threats. Intensive and versatile preparedness modalities, such as lectures, drills, and posters, given to a carefully selected group of clinicians, can increase their knowledge, and hopefully improve their response to a bioterrorist attack.
A mass-casualty incident (MCI) can occur in the periphery of a densely populated area, away from a metropolitan area. In such circumstances, the medical management of the casualties is expected to be difficult because the nearest hospital and the emergency medical services (EMS), only can offer limited resources.When coping with these types of events (i.e., limited medical capability in the nearby medical facilities), a quick response time and rational triage can have a great impact on the outcome of the victims. The objective of this study was to identify the lessons learned from the medical response to a terrorist attack that occurred on 05 December 2005, in Netanya, a small Israeli city.
Data were collected during and after the event from formal debriefings and from patient files. The data were processed using descriptive statistics and compared to those from previous events. The event is described according to Disastrous Incidents Systematic Analysis Through Components, Interactions, Results (DISAST-CIR) methodology.
Four victims and the terrorist died as a result of this suicide bombing. A total of 131 patients were evacuated (by EMS or self-evacuation) to three nearby hospitals. Due to the proximity of the event to the ambulance dispatch station, the EMS response was quick.The first evacuation took place only three minutes after the explosion. Non-urgent patients were diverted to two close-circle hospitals, allowing the nearest hospital to treat urgent patients and to receive the majority of self-evacuated patients. The nearest hospital continued to receive patients for >6 hours after the explosion, 57 of them (78%) were self-evacuated.
The distribution of casualties from the scene plays a vital role in the management of a MCI that occurs in the outskirts of a densely populated area.Non-urgent patients should be referred to a hospital close to the scene of the event, but not the closest hospital.The nearest hospital should be prepared to treat urgent casualties, as well as a large number of self-evacuated patients.
Mass-casualty incidents (MCIs) can occur outside of major metropolitan areas. In such circumstances, the nearest hospital seldom is a Level-1 Trauma Center. Moreover, emergency medical services (EMS) capabilities in such areas tend to be limited, which may compromise prehospital care and evacuation speed. The objective of this study was to extract lessons learned from the medical response to a terrorist event that occurred in the marketplace of a small Israeli town on 26 October 2005. The lessons pertain to the management of primary and secondary evacuation and the operational practices by the only hospital in the town, which is designated as a Level-2 Trauma Center.
Data were collected during the event by Home Front Command Medical Department personnel. After the event, formal and informal debriefings were conducted with emergency medical services personnel, the hospitals involved, and the Ministry of Health.The medical response components, interactions (mainly primary triage and secondary distribution), and the principal outcomes were analyzed.The event is described according to Disastrous Incidents Systematic Analysis Through Components, Interactions, Results (DISAST-CIR) methodology.
The suicide bomber and four victims died at the scene, and two severely injured patients later died in the hospital. A total of 58 wounded persons were evacuated, including eight severely injured, two moderately injured, and 48 mildly injured. Forty-nine of the wounded arrived to the nearby Hillel Yafe Hospital, including all eight of the severely injured victims, the two moderately injured, and 39 of the mildly injured. Most of the mildly injured victims were evacuated in private cars by bystanders.
Five other area hospitals were alerted, three of which primarily received the mildly injured victims. Twodistant, Level-1 Trauma Centers also were alerted; each received one severely injured patient from Hillel Yafe Hospital during the secondary distribution process.
Emergency medical services personnel were able to treat and evacuate all severely and moderately injured patients within 17 minutes of the explosion. A total of 12 of the 21 ambulances arriving on-scene within the first 20 minutes were staffed by emergency medical services volunteers or off-duty workers.
When a mass-casualty incident occurs in a small town that is in the vicinity of a Level-2 Trauma Center, and located a >40 minute drive from Level-1 Trauma Centers, the Level-2 Trauma Center is a critical component in medical management of the event. All severely and moderately injured patients initially should be evacuated to the Level-2 Trauma Center, and given advanced, hospital-based resuscitation. The patients needing care beyond the capabilities of this facility should be distributed secondarily to Level-1 Trauma Centers.To alleviate the burden placed on the local hospital, some of the mildly injured victims can be evacuated primarily to more distant hospitals.The ability to control the flow of mildly injured patients is limitedby the large percentage of them arriving by private cars. The availability of emergency medical services in small towns can be augmented significantly by enrolling off-duty emergency medical services workers and volunteers to the rescue effort. Level-2 hospitals in small towns should be prepared and drilled to operate in a “selective evacuation” mode during mass-casualty incidents.
A simplified, four-step approach was used to establish a medical management and response plan to mega-terrorism in Israel. The basic steps of this approach are: (1) analysis of a scenario based on past incidents; (2) description of relevant capabilities of the medical system; (3) analysis of gaps between the scenario and the expected response; and (4) development of anoperational framework.
Analyses of both the scenario and medical abilities led to the recommendation of an evidence-based contingency plan for mega-terrorism. An important lesson learned from the analyses is that a shortage in medical first responders would require the administration of advanced life support (ALS) by paramedics at the scene, along with simultaneous, rapid evacuation of urgent casualties to nearby hospitals by medics practicing basic life support (BLS). Ambulances and helicopters should triage casualties from inner to outer circle hospitals secondarily, preferentially Level-1 trauma centers.
In conclusion, this fourstep approach based on scenario analysis, mapping of medical capabilities, detection of bottlenecks, and establishment of a unique operational framework, can help other medical systems develop a response plan to megaterrorist attacks.
A mass toxicological event (MTE) caused by an act of terrorism or an industrial incident can create large numbers of ambulatory casualties suffering from mild intoxication, acute stress reaction (ASR), and exacerbation of chronic diseases or iatrogenic insult (such as atropine overdose). The logistical and medical management of this population may present a challenge insuch a scenario. The aim of this article is to describe the concept of the Israeli Home Front Command (HFC) of a “Mild Casualties Center” (MCC) for a chemical scenario, and to analyze the results of two large-scale drills that have been used to evaluate this concept.
Two large-scale drills were conducted. One MCC drill was located in a school building and the second MCC drill was located in a basketball stadium. These medical centers were staffed by physicians, nurses, and medics, both military (reservists) and civilian (community, non-hospital teams). Two hundred simulated patients entered the MCC during each of the drills, and drill observers assessed how these patients were managed for two hours.
Of the casualties, 28 were treated in the “medical treatment site”, 10 of which were relocated to a nearby hospital. Only four casualties were treated in the large “mental care site”, planned for a much higher burden of “worried well” patients. Documentation of patient data and medical care was sub-optimal.
A MCC is a logistically suitable solution for the challenge of managing thousands of ambulatory casualties. The knowledge of the medical team must be bolstered, as most are unfamiliar with both nerve gas poisoning and with ASR. Mild casualties centers should not be located within hospitals and must be staffed by non-hospital, medical personnel to achieve the main task of allowing hospital teams to focus on providing medical care to the moderate and severe nerve gas casualties, without the extra burden of caring for thousands of mild casualties.
In April 1999, during the crisis in Kosovo, the Israeli government launched a medical, field hospital in order to provide humanitarian aid to the Albanian refugees that fled from their homes in Kosovo. This facility was set up by the Medical Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces, in a refugee camp located in Northern Macedonia. During the 16 days during which the hospital functioned, the medical staff treated 1,560 patients and hospitalized >100. The field hospital served as a referral center for all of the other primary clinics that were hastily erected in the camp and its surroundings. This communication elaborates on the various aspects of the humanitarian medical aid that were provided by this medical facility and the conclusions that learned from such a mission.