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Letter from Israel

Larry Rich

Israel’s Emek Medical Center (EMC)Affiliated with the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, IsraelAugust 2, 2006 More rockets have just hit near the hospital. It’s now 2:00 PM and already today more than 150 rockets have slammed into Israel. Upon hearing the sirens, the run to shelters and moving quietly to interior spaces is almost becoming routine. How quickly we adapt. How utterly exposed we are. Two days ago, the amazing staff of Emek Medical Center completed the transfer of 180 patients from the top floors to lower floors in only five hours. The immense logistical operation demanded doubling up and tripling some departments, arranging that only mobile patients would be bedded near the windows facing north and maintaining order throughout the ordeal. Our hospital’s bed capacity has suddenly dropped from 500 to 300. Our top floors are now ghost wards with no signs of life … void of patients, families, nurses and physicians. Waiting for what nobody wants to contemplate. This war has taught us that we need to seriously rethink our building planning and architecture. The rocket reality that has been unceremoniously thrust upon us is already demanding far reaching decisions. Larger blast resistant security areas must be now planned as the smaller security rooms per department do not meet today’s needs. Rocket wars are suddenly reality and this situation demands stronger roofs, fortified walls, shatter proof windows and more protected areas throughout the hospital campus. The foundations for our new Surgical Complex are already being poured and our CEO, Dr. Orna Blondheim, has ordered our architect to immediately upgrade the existing Master Plan to include the safety factors reflecting this new reality of rocket warfare. We estimate that these upgraded specifications will cost nearly another million dollars. The Home Front Command has ordered the immediate implementation of specialized clear chemically treated sheets to be affixed to all our exterior windows. These technologically advanced filaments prevent glass from shattering due to the concussion of a rocket or bomb (much like automobile windshields). Emek has 8,000 sq. meters of exterior windows and we are already covering the glass facing north. More contractors are being rushed in as the massive job needs to be completed within a matter of days. Haifa’s Rambam Hospital was faced with a complicated logistical problem. They needed to clean out an underground area of their facility because, like us, they were ordered to move patients from the upper floors to lower levels. Their basement area was extremely dirty and they didn’t have the necessary equipment to deal with the urgent challenge. They contacted us because they had heard about our custom-sized motorized street sweeper. We immediately arranged for a special truck to pick up our sweeper and we sent them our operator as well … for as long as it takes to get the job done.We have now treated more than 150 victims of this war … men, women, children and soldiers. Every rocket that slams into our little country only deepens our resolve to rid ourselves once and for all of the demented menace of the north. Larry RichIsrael’s Emek Medical CenterDirector of Development & International Public RelationsAfula 18101, IsraelPhone in New York: 646-546-5970 Phone in Israel: 972-4-649 4417Mobile: 972-50-5737 641Fax: 972-4-652 2642Email: rich_l@clalit.org.ilwww.haemek.co.il


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