The evacuation of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster area
The evacuation of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster area
Photo: Elad Gershgoren, Avihu Shapira
The evacuation of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster area

Health Ministry probe of Meron disaster finds hospitals unprepared

Report shows although medical teams at scene and in hospitals acted well, messy and inefficient evacuation process of casualties is ill-prepared for mass-casualty events

Adir Yanko |
Published: 05.04.21 , 16:57
Four days after the disaster on Mount Meron, the Health Ministry on Tuesday conducted a review of the actions of health teams in the incident where 45 men and boys were killed and 150 others were injured.
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  • The report showed that most of the disaster’s victims were evacuated to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, which according to the ministry was ill-prepared to triage casualties.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    The evacuation of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster area
    The evacuation of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster area
    The evacuation of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster area
    (Photo: Elad Gershgoren, Avihu Shapira)
    The Health Ministry also found that the helicopter landing pads at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv and Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva were all unfit to receive casualties, some of whom were therefore evacuated for treatment in Jerusalem.
    "Luckily, there weren't too many serious or moderate injuries," a source familiar with the details of the incident said.
    "The casualties were distributed incorrectly. The only thing that was as it should, was the emergency management of the actual event. Even the transport from hospital to hospital was illogical,” the source added.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Medical staff at the Ziv Medical Center prepare for the arrival of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster
    Medical staff at the Ziv Medical Center prepare for the arrival of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster
    Medical staff at the Ziv Medical Center prepare for the arrival of casualties from the Mount Meron disaster
    (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
    “One patient was evacuated by helicopter to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. Does that make any sense?" the source asked. "I do not know why so many casualties were evacuated to Ziv. They cannot take 47 casualties all at once. Not a chance. The secondary evacuation was to Rambam in Haifa. who decided that?”
    The ministry's conclusions show that although the medical teams at the scene and in the hospitals acted well, additional procedures must be put in place to provide better preliminary treatment on scene, better prepare hospitals to triage casualties and bolster medical services in the community among other things.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Casualties from the Meron Disaster arrive at Ziv Medical Center
    Casualties from the Meron Disaster arrive at Ziv Medical Center
    Casualties from the Meron Disaster arrive at Ziv Medical Center
    (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
    The report also recommends launching an in-depth investigation into the decision-making process on the night of the disaster to better understand who was making the calls.
    Moreover, the investigation also showed that hospitals received reports about the disaster from Homefront Command and Israel Police about half an hour after the beginning of the event. Rescue teams on Mount Meron launched the first report at 12:50am but the Health Ministry received word of the disaster only at 1:19am, while hospitals were only alerted to prepare to take in casualties at 1:51am.
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