The IDF military field hospital, often the first and the largest to arrive at disaster scenes across the globe, may soon be recognized as the best in the world.
The United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) may soon award Israel’s military field hospital the highest ranking, making the Jewish state the first country in the world to win the prestigious recognition, Times of Israel reported.
In 2014, WHO created a set of criteria to classify foreign medical teams that arrive at the scene of disaster on a scale of one to three, with Type 3 Status being the highest score. “Only a handful [of countries] in the world” could be considered for the top mark, said Dr. Ian Norton, who leads the work on foreign medical teams at WHO.
The decision will be made next month.
“I am very confident that Israel will do a good job and get through this process,” Norton said.
Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Ofer Merin, commander of the field hospital and director of the trauma center at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, is more cautious, saying that he’ll believe it when it happens. “I’d say that we’re in the process of being recognized by the WHO, but not that we’re accredited this way or that until we actually get it,” he said.
The IDF military field hospital has often been the first and/or the largest to arrive at the scene of disaster. The Israeli teams, representing the IDF Medical Corps and Home Front Command, were particularly prominent in 1999, after an earthquake in Turkey; in 2010, following an earthquake in Haiti; in 2013, when the Philippines was hit by a typhoon; and in 2015, after an earthquake in Nepal.
Following the deadly earthquake in Nepal, for example, the IDF field hospital team treated 1,600 patients suffering from severe internal injuries, fractures and hypothermia, as well as delivering eight babies, six through Caesarean section and two natural births.
The field hospital is “not just some medics and doctors spread out in the field,” but, rather, a “national treasure” with the capabilities of an advanced, permanent hospital that can be set up almost anywhere in under 12 hours, Merin, told Times of Israel.
A Type 3 designation would not only prove that Israel is capable of helping other countries in an emergency, but also that it could manage itself should the situation arise.