By Sgt. Fay ConroyNovember 3, 2009
ASHKELON, Israel - When executing a joint exercise in a foreign country, one of the main issues is where to take American servicemembers if they become ill or injured.
A joint medical team from the Joint Task Force participating in Juniper Cobra visited Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon , Oct. 29 for a presentation and a tour of the hospital.
"The purpose of visiting the hospital is to establish a relationship with them so that they know who we are and we know who they are and to make sure the facility has the same standard to take care of servicemembers and be able to medically evacuate them out if need," said Maj. Sean Fortson the doctor for JTF and an emergency room doctor with 212th Combat Support Hospital.
Located only 6 miles from the border with Gaza , the hospital is a frontline hospital in a civilian area that has become uniquely equipped to deal with mass casualties due to the constant threat of rocket attacks from Gaza . Not only does the hospital treat Israelis, but also Palestinians from Gaza . The hospital also has a separate facility to decontaminate victims of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear attack. The emergency room, which is separated from the main hospital, can be quickly converted to treat victims of such an attack.
After a lunch provided by the hospital and a presentation showcasing the hospital's ability to treat patients in a mass casualties, the medical team asked questions regarding the type of care an American servicemember would receive in their hospital as well as technical question regarding evacuation and blood transfusions. The team also toured the hospital to see where servicemembers would be treated if they had to be seen at the hospital.
"From a military perspective we are planning for a contingency and they are living it everyday. It's good for the planners to see that," said Lt. Col. John Sanders the surgeon for JTF and the United States Army Europe medical planner. "Both for JC10 and real world it is an opportunity to see where our Soldiers would be cared for."