Hospital staff transferring premature babies during Operation Breaking Dawn at the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva

Israel's Be'er Sheva hospital calls for more protection from rocket attacks

Hospital staff called in to move 200 beds, premature babies to protected areas as fighting begins while medical tests and procedures suspended because equipment and operating theatres at remain under risk from rocket fire

Adir Yanko |
Published: 08.11.22, 20:28
Soroka hospital in Be'er Sheva on Thursday, warned it would not be able to provide services during future violent conflicts with Gaza because it lacks adequate protection.
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  • Soroka is the largest medical center in the south serving civilians and the military, and had come under rocket fire during the recent 3-day offensive against the Islamic Jihad, as well as during previous military conflicts.
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    פינוי הפגייה בסורוקה
    פינוי הפגייה בסורוקה
    Hospital staff transferring premature babies during Operation Breaking Dawn at the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva
    Hospital administrators said many of its wards can not provide shelter during rocket strikes. Out of the total 1,200 hospital beds in the facility, only 200 are situated in areas fit to withstand attacks, only one of the two operating theatres, and only one out of the five catheterization rooms, are protected.
    Dr. Shlomi Kodesh, director-general of Soroka Medical Center, warned that the hospital is not prepared for a war that would last more than a few days.
    "On Friday, after the fighting began last week, we gathered all the management staff and until 11 PM we moved 200 hospital beds," he said.
    "Hundreds of our employees came in especially from their homes and pushed beds around. Premature babies were crowded into the room, patients who in need of catheterization had to wait, and medical tests were suspended because one of the CT machines was in an unprotected space," Kodesh said.
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    פינוי הפגייה בסורוקה
    פינוי הפגייה בסורוקה
    Hospital staff transferring premature babies during Operation Breaking Dawn at the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva
    "This must stop," he said. "In the Negev there are already the fewest beds per 1,000 people." the hospital chief said.
    "This time the fighting lasted only three days, but what will happen in the next Gaza War? The biggest hospital in the Negev will lose a huge portion of its functionality," he said.
    "The solution is money," he said. "In the end there needs to be a protected building built including all the missing functions, and this country knows how to build buildings. They're looking for the money, and its about time they find it. In a prolonged operation, the harm to patients may be very significant and the reduction of 200 beds will be very significant to the Negev residents" Kodesh said.
    Still in the south, the Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod, which was built a few years ago, and is much smaller than the Soroka Medical Center, has adequate infrastructure to continue working under fire. However, its' management has warned that the facility may not be substantial enough to respond to the need of the growing population.
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    אסותא אשדוד
    אסותא אשדוד
    Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod
    (Photo: Gadi Kablo)
    "The state of Israel built a protected hospital in Ashdod, because of the threat to life during fire from Gaza," wrote the hospital director Dr. Erez Barenboim in a text addressed to Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
    "The strategic decision to establish a protected public hospital was a brave and appropriate one but a it is too small in relation to the population in Ashdod that is expected to grow in the upcoming years."
    Dr. Barenboim called on the finance and health ministries to commit to a yearly investment of 100 million shekels for the next five years, claiming that that was the only way to keep the strategically built hospital functioning.
    The Health ministry said in response that it had invested tens of millions of shekels in protecting the different hospitals in conflict areas, "Expansion of hospital protection depends on the budget allotted for this purpose by the government," the ministry said.
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