Only One Israeli Hospital Equipped for Suspected Ebola Patients

Sheba Medical Center was meant to be one of two hospitals dealing with suspected Ebola cases, but hospital says the Health Ministry provided inadequate tents for isolating and treating patients.

Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Nurses stage a demonstration protesting inadequate Ebola preparedness, October 28, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Nurses stage a demonstration protesting inadequate Ebola preparedness, October 28, 2014 in San Francisco, California.Credit: AFP
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

Anyone suspected of carrying the Ebola virus in Israel will for now be referred only to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, after Health Ministry officials determined that other hospitals didn’t have the facilities necessary to manage the disease.

The decision was taken yesterday. A drill rehearsing procedures required to treat Ebola patients was also held yesterday at Rambam.

Dr. Galia Rahav, head of the infectious disease unit at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv, last week told ministry officials that she could not receive Ebola patients because the hospital’s isolation tent was inappropriate for the task.

Following the drill at Rambam, Health Ministry Director General Arnon Ofek concluded that the specifications for existing hospital tents should be changed.

Because Rambam has the necessary isolation rooms as well as an underground hospital floor with all necessary infrastructure, the Haifa hospital will be given priority in the event of a suspected case of Ebola, the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier plans called for Rambam and Sheba to receive suspected Ebola patients in isolation tents. But as Channel 1 reported on Monday, medical staff at Sheba insisted that the hospital’s tents were inadequate to treat Ebola patients.

At a meeting last week, Rahav told ministry officials that she adamantly opposed the prospect of Ebola patients being treated at the facility under current circumstances. She voiced concern that with the current arrangements, hospital staff could be put at risk, Haaretz has learned.

“The tent was set up in an isolated location behind the emergency room, but then we found that Ebola patients could not be treated in such a tent,” Rahav told Haaretz.

“It’s a small and cramped tent, without running water or lavatory facilities or showers. The lack of lavatories is a fundamental issue. Nurses cannot be allowed to collect the secretions of patients in a bedpan a number of times a day and dispose of them somewhere else. The tent doesn’t have facilities where patients can shower or use the toilet in a normal fashion.

“These are conditions that endanger staff people. And as someone who is also responsible for the safety of staff people who come in contact with the patients, we could not agree to admit patients under such circumstances.”

The Health Ministry has now ordered larger tents that are also equipped with chemical toilets, showers and sinks. “Specifications have been set that more appropriately address [the needs involved in] ongoing treatment of the Ebola patient, and immediate orders were placed for four tents,” the ministry said. They’re expected to replace the current tents within a month and a half.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed


AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them