Haifa's Rambam Hospital Ill-equipped for Rocket Attacks

Rambam hospital treats patients from the north, including those receiving preliminary treatment at other hospitals.

Haifa's Rambam Medical Center is ill-equipped to function under rocket fire and unprepared to treat the resulting influx of patients being hospitalized, said hospital director Professor Raphael Beyar on Sunday.

"Haifa's Rambam hospital, one of the largest in Israel, and the one that treats all of the residents of the north, is not ready for the newly created security situation," said Beyar.

Beyar demanded Prime Minister Ehud Olmert allocate $10 million for the fortification of the hospital's central building, starting with the emergency room and first aid units.

"The hospital's additional structure, which is scheduled to be constructed on hospital grounds must be built incorporating standards superior to the ones we have been using so far," said Beyar, adding that no date has been set for the beginning of the construction.

Rambam hospital treats many patients from the north, including those that receive preliminary treatment at other northern hospitals such as Nahariya hospital and Safed's Ziv hospital.

Since the beginning of the fighting in the north Rambam hospital has treated over 650 people with injuries of varying degrees, this in addition to the 2,200 people treated for injuried not connected to the security situation.

According to Beyar, Rambam hospital, unlike Nahariya hospital, which is fortified and partially subterranean, is ill equipped for functioning under rocket fire.

"If the security situation deteriorates and the number of rockets launched at Haifa increases, we will find ourselves in a dire situation that will require immediate attention. We haven't reached that situation yet," said Beyar.

"The little that we have been able to do since the war erupted is to increase the personal safety of the patients by transferring them to internal wards and reinforcing the windows with tape. We've also begun reinforcing the walls with concrete," he said.

Beyar added that as a result of the increase in the workload at the hospital, they now require an additional 100 emergency room nurses.

Beyar intends to demand funding for additional nurses - approximately NIS one million - from the Finance and Health ministries.