And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. (Genesis 1:27) The bible describes all humanity as having been created in God’s image, therefore all human life is precious. This philosophy is borne out in the field by IDF mobile medical units.
IDF Central Command recently released its medical statistics for 2012, reporting that medical forces treated over 1500 patients in Judea and Samaria, and that roughly ¼ of those were Palestinians. About half the patients were soldiers, meaning that medical corps treated nearly the same number of Jewish and Palestinian civilians.
Medical unit commander Col. Dr. Dov Albukerk explained that most of the Palestinian patients they treat have been injured in road or workplace accidents, or are suffering from various diseases. Some of them arrive at the IDF bases throughout the region of their own volition, requesting medical treatment. Albukerk recounted one incident where a patient appeared with symptoms of poisoning, having swallowed pesticide. he was treated on-site by an IDF mobile intensive care unit (ICU), then airlifted to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for further care.
“The lives of dozens of sick patients in the Judea and Samaria region and in the [Jordan] Valley were saved this year due to our medical care,” Albukerk told the IDF Website. “This success was made possible largely thanks to our close, year-round cooperation with civilian life-saving bodies, such as Magen David Adom and the fire department, with which we hold training courses and joint exercises.” In addition, the medical forces work with the Red Crescent Society and Palestinian medical services, under the coordination of the Civil Administration. This cooperation has remained stable for many years, even during times of tension, and resulted in many lives saved.
Albukerk pointed out that Palestinians do have advanced medical care available. He noted, however, that his unit’s job is to provide the best care possible, and if it becomes apparent that transporting a patient to Palestinian care would take too long, or if the case is so complex that it would tax the available medical system, the patient is sometimes transferred to Israeli care.
The IDF’s mobile ICUs serve as the first line of medical defense in some communities. They are equipped with specialised medical equipment to treat all manner of emergencies. In fact, the first-ever blood plasma transfusion performed outside a hospital was performed by an IDF mobile ICU in the Jordan Valley, when a Palestinian was treated for injuries sustained in a car accident.
The high standard of care and open care policy has garnered the unit a reputation. According to Albukerk, “There are many Palestinians who know the quality of the public military healthcare in Israel, and as a result, there are families who insist that we treat and evacuate the injured ourselves.”