Doctors travel to Israeli trauma unit

September 19, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Fearing that another terrorist attack or mass casualty in Washington, D.C., would drive people west, two local doctors recently traveled to a hospital in war-torn Israel to evaluate its trauma unit for war preparedness.

The trauma unit at the Hadassah Hospital can sustain nuclear attacks. In the event of an attack, the trauma unit can seal itself down and function for three weeks, Dr. John Caruso said.

"We wanted to compare that unit to the one we have here. We have to be just as prepared," said Caruso, a leading partner at the Parkway Neuroscience & Spine Institute off Western Maryland Parkway.

Caruso traveled with Dr. Marc Kross, trauma chief at Washington County Hospital.

"If Baltimore or Washington gets hit, people will come westward," Caruso said.

Washington County Hospital is the trauma center for Camp David.

Marine 1, the president's helicopter, needs to be able to land at the hospital even in the event of a storm or "mass casualty" in Washington, D.C., Kross said.


If weapons of mass destruction were used in the metro area, "we would receive a massive number of traumas," Kross said.

Caruso said the doctors would like to incorporate their ideas into the design for the proposed new hospital.

The doctors will present their findings to an internal trauma management group, according to Maureen Theriault, Washington County Hospital spokeswoman.

Kross said the new hospital should be designed for acute problems, not for chronic illnesses.

Doctors should treat some patients with chronic illnesses through home care. A chronic illness is one that lasts a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely.

"We have to prepare for the worst, that's why John and I went to a war zone," Kross said.

The doctors were in Israel from July 29 to Aug. 8, "right in the middle of war," Caruso said.

Kross said he is concerned that Washington County Hospital's trauma center is older than the trauma centers in Winchester, Va., and Chambersburg, Pa.

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