Date: 13/01/2009, 9:32 PM     Author: Tal Moise

Although they are not stationed on frontline, the soldiers of the Military Hospital Units of the Home Front Command are doing their part. Most of the unit’s soldiers are residents of the South and are experiencing the rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip first hand. But this doesn’t keep them from reporting for duty and from caring for the injured in hospitals. “Currently, the units are working in Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, and in Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva,” explains Commander of the Military Hospital Units, Major (res.) Eli Elisheva. “A hundred percent of the soldiers who were invited, responded. People with great motivation are quietly doing their sacred work, helping the injured and the hospital”.

The aim of the Military Hospital Units is to generally assist in and around the hospitals during emergency situations. This is particularly important when there is a chance chemical warfare agents are used, and the units’ soldiers are well trained to treat injuries caused by chemical agents. Every unit is made up of a Missions Company that is responsible of logistical aid, soldier identification, casualty evacuation, stretchers and hospital security. In addition to that, every unit includes a Medical Company, made up of professional medical personnel (mostly medics and dentists), who provide medical treatment for the lightly injured and those suffering from shock in the case of a chemical warfare injury. “Our task is to give the medical personnel some space to breath, by helping them,” says the commander of the Military Hospital Unit at Soroka Medical Center, Maj. (res.) Dodi Ben-Simon. “It is very important to me that the soldiers understand the mission they have been called up to; they are a tremendously helpful force, even if they are not part of the battle.”

The situation in the hospitals is difficult at the moment, especially for Maj. Elisheva, who is from the Qassam ridden Ashdod. “My son is a combat soldier in the Paratrooper Brigade Reconnaissance Company and he is now fighting in the Gaza Strip,” he explains. “Every day I receive wounded soldiers and fear that I’ll see my son among them; it is a horrible feeling. I am in a craze of emotions and, at the same time, I am functioning as the commander of two of the Military Hospital Units in two different hospitals. I know that what we do is very important work, and that helps me to carry on.”