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Sat, 25.05.24

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May 2021
Yechiel Michael Barilan

This focus article is a theoretical reflection on the ethics of allocating respirators to patients in circumstances of shortage, especially during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Israel. In this article, respirators are placeholders for similar life-saving modalities in short supply, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines and intensive care unit beds.

In the article, I propose a system of triage for circumstances of scarcity of respirators. The system separates the hopeless from the curable, granting every treatable person a real chance of cure. The scarcity situation eliminates excesses of medicine, and then allocates respirators by a single scale, combining an evidence-based scoring system with risk-proportionate lottery.

The triage proposed embodies continuity and consistency with the healthcare practices in ordinary times. Yet, I suggest two regulatory modifications: one in relation to expediting review of novel and makeshift solutions and the second in relation to mandatory retrospective research on all relevant medical data and standard (as opposed to experimental) interventions that are influenced by the triage

October 2016
Yuval Glick MD, Erez N. Baruch MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD, Amy L. Berg MD, Dror Yifrah MBA MHA, Avraham Yitzhak MD, David Dagan MD MHA and Tarif Bader MD MHA

Background: During the past 6 years the Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps (IDF-MC) deployed three humanitarian delegation field hospitals (HDFHs) in disaster zones around the globe: Haiti (2010), the Philippines (2013), and Nepal (2015). 

Objectives: To compare the activity of these HDFHs and the characteristics of the patients they served.

Methods: This retrospective study was based on the HDFHs’ operation logs and patients medical records. The study population included both the staff who participated and the patients who were treated in any of the three HDFHs.

Results: The Philippine HDFH was a "hybrid" type, i.e., it was integrated with a local hospital. Both the Haitian and the Nepali HDFHs were the "stand-alone" type, i.e., were completely autonomic in resources and in function. The Nepali HDFH had a larger staff, departed from Israel 4 hours earlier and was active 7 hours earlier as compared to the Haitian one. In total, 5465 patients, 55% of them female, were treated in the three HDFHs. In Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines, disaster-related injuries accounted for 66%, 26% and 2% of the cases, respectively. Disaster-related injuries presented mainly in the first days of the HDFHs' activity.

Conclusions: The next HDFH should be planned to care for a significant proportion of routine medical illnesses. The IDF-MC continuous learning process will enable future HDFHs to save more lives as we "extend a helping hand" to foreign populations in crisis. 

 

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