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Shaare Zedek has a long tradition of sharing its vast knowledge of emergency medicine and response to mass casualty events with other hospitals and countries. For years, it has responded to requests from other hospitals to help educate them on disaster management and emergency response protocols. Shaare Zedek’s physicians also play key roles with Israel Defense Forces’ Field Hospital that have been dispatched all over the world to provide urgent medical assistance and relief when disasters strike.
Based on our emergency preparedness expertise, New York Downtown Hospital, the closest hospital to “Ground Zero,” approached Shaare Zedek after 9/11, admitting that they would have been overwhelmed and entirely unprepared to handle the numbers of injured they expected to receive that day, but sadly never had the chance. They contacted Shaare Zedek and with the Hospital’s help, completely restructured their ER. Not only that, but since 2002 they have held an international symposium on Emergency Preparedness where Shaare Zedek has served as the Keynote Address every year.
In January of 2010, Shaare Zedek’s Deputy Director-General Dr. Ofer Merin was dispatched as part of the IDF’s Homefront Command Medical Unit to respond to the devastating earthquake which struck Port Au Prince, Haiti. For nearly two weeks, Dr. Merin, accompanied by other Shaare Zedek physicians and many others on the IDF team, worked around the clock in a field hospital set up by the Israeli response teams. The relief effort produced by the Israeli teams became the admiration of the international community and Dr. Merin’s efforts were highlighted by numerous media outlets.
On March 26th, 2011 Dr. Merin was sent to Japan as part of the IDF humanitarian relief program in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Dr. Merin served as the Director of Surgical Operations in the IDF Field Hospital, located in Minamisanriko, a village totally destroyed by the tsunami which also killed half of its 17,000 residents. Once again the Israeli team served as a beacon of healing, representing the only country to provide medical assistance on the ground.
Drs. Ofer Merin, Giora Weiser, Sefi Mendlovich and Avi Alpert travelled to the Philippines in November 2013 as part of the IDF team that set up a field hospital in Bogo City following Typhoon Haiyan, which claimed 6,201 lives. The Israeli delegation treated 2,686 patients at its field hospital, 848 of whom were children. They delivered a total of 36 babies, including seven successful emergency Caesarian sections and performed 52 surgeries. The Israelis left behind an x-ray machine, basic equipment and supplies for a delivery room and $500,000 worth of medicines for adults and children.
A distinguished panel of doctors, including many who responded to recent mass casualty events in the US, took part in a symposium titled: “Preparedness for Mass Casualty Events,” on Monday, October 28, 2013 in Los Angeles. The event was coordinated and hosted by the Western Region of the American Committee for Shaare Zedek and included: The “Father of modern emergency medicine” Dr. Peter Rosen; Dr. Shlomo Melmed, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Medical Faculty at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles; Dr. William Begg of Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, who responded to the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack; Dr. Joel Geiderman of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles who spoke of local responses to train accidents, earthquakes and civil unrest; Dr. Bruce D. Logan of NYU Downtown Hospital, the closest facility to the World Trade Center; Dr. Richard Wolfe, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where many of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing were treated; Dr. Ofer Merin, Deputy Director-General of Shaare Zedek and Director of its Emergency Preparedness and Response Program, as well as the Trauma Unit.
David Siegel, Israel Consul General in Los Angeles, said “The people from this Hospital are not only treating Israelis, Jews and Arabs – they’re treating the world. They are not just doing well but doing good – good for the world.”