'we'll all cry over spilled blood'
Photo: Liquid Library

'Blood Bank vulnerable to attacks, disasters'

Magen David Adom warns most of Israel's blood supply may be destroyed in case of war, natural disaster due to lack of fortification

Israel's Blood Bank, which contains over 10,000 units of blood, is not protected against missile attacks and natural disasters, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.


In fact, the establishment is so vulnerable that if it does find itself the target of a devastating incident, practically all of Israel's banked blood units would go down the drain.


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Magen David Adom provides the bulk of blood required by hospitals for life-saving procedures. The donated blood units are stored at two facilities, one located in Tel Hashomer and the other in the north of the country. But despite their strategic vitality, neither of the sites is fortified to withstand disasters.


Senior MDA officials claimed that since the blood bank is a facility of strategic importance, the responsibility of protecting it falls on the government. The institution has repteadly pleaded with the Health Ministry and the defense establishment to take precautionary measures, but to no avail.


"It poses mortal danger," one official said. "If the blood supply is eliminated, patients could die. The State's decision-makers are disregarding the residents, and at a time of war we will all cry over spilled blood."


Bank exposed to unconventional strike

While the Tel Hashomer facility has two underground refrigerators, they are not protected from atomic, chemical or biological attacks. It would take at least 12 hours to transfer 97% of Israel's blood supply to a shelter – a period of time that could be critical in a time of emergency. But even if the supply is transported in time, the medical equipment that is necessary to keep the blood units functional is immobile, increasing the risk of infection.


"The current situation could cause a second Carmel disaster," MDA Chairman Eli Bean said. "It's a known secret that the MDA has been warning about for over six years.


"In case of a missile attack or an earthquake, we just won't be able to supply blood, and then no one will be able to shirk the responsibility," he added.


Bean noted that fortifying the current blood storage facilities would take two years, during which the MDA's blood service will not be able to function normally. The MDA has proposed to build a new building instead, but has not received a reply from the government.


The Health Ministry said in response that it has invested the funds that it has been allocated for the fortification of the healthcare system to highly-vulnerable regions in the periphery, including the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.


The rest of the regions are to be addressed once the next phase of the national fortification plan begins, the ministry said.




פרסום ראשון: 02.15.12, 08:14
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