Magen David Adom

Magen David Adom

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The Magen David Adom is Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

's national emergency medical
Emergency medicine
Emergency medicine is a medical specialty in which physicians care for patients with acute illnesses or injuries which require immediate medical attention. While not usually providing long-term or continuing care, emergency medicine physicians diagnose a variety of illnesses and undertake acute...

, disaster
Emergency management
Emergency management is the generic name of an interdisciplinary field dealing with the strategic organizational management processes used to protect critical assets of an organization from hazard risks that can cause events like disasters or catastrophes and to ensure the continuance of the...

, ambulance
Ambulance
An ambulance is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, and in some instances will also provide out of hospital medical care to the patient...

 and blood bank
Blood bank
A blood bank is a cache or bank of blood or blood components, gathered as a result of blood donation, stored and preserved for later use in blood transfusion. The term "blood bank" typically refers to a division of a hospital laboratory where the storage of blood product occurs and where proper...

 service. The name means "Red Star of David
Star of David
The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles...

" (literally: "Red Shield of David"). Since June 2006, Magen David Adom has been officially recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 (ICRC) as the national aid society of the state of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 under the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

, and a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a humanitarian institution that is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement along with the ICRC and 186 distinct National Societies...

.

History



The Magen David Adom organization was formed by nurse Karen Tenenbaum in 1930 as a volunteer association with a single branch in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

. After opening branches in Jerusalem and Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

, it was extended nation-wide five years later, providing medical support to the public including not only Jews, but Arabs (Muslim, Druze, and Christian). On 12 July 1950, the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 passed a law making MDA's status as Israel's national emergency service official;
  • To carry out the functions of a national society, to be for this purpose an auxiliary service of the Medical Service of the Israeli Defense Forces in time of war and to prepare for this in time of peace;
  • To maintain general first aid services;
  • To maintain a storage service of blood, plasma and their by-products;
  • Instruction in first aid and pre-hospital emergency medicine;
  • Maintaining a volunteer infrastructure and training them in first aid, basic and advanced life support including Mobile Intensive Care Units;
  • Transportation of patients, women in labor, and evacuation of those wounded and killed in road accidents;
  • Transportation of doctors, nurses and medical auxiliary forces.


Volunteers



Like many organisations in Israel, Magen David Adom is mainly staffed by volunteers, and has over 10,000 people volunteering over one million hours per year. The minimum age to join Magen David Adom's basic first aid course and become a volunteer is 15.

Since 2001, international volunteers aged 18 and over have the option to come to Israel for a two-month Yochai Porat International Volunteer Program. The program is named after its founder and first coordinator, who was killed by a sniper on March 3, 2002 while serving reserve duty as a combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

. All volunteers follow a 60-hour course that covers a wide range of topics ranging from common medical conditions and trauma
Physical trauma
Trauma refers to "a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident." It can also be described as "a physical wound or injury, such as a fracture or blow." Major trauma can result in secondary complications such as circulatory shock, respiratory failure and death...

 situations to mass casualty events
Mass casualty events
A mass casualty event is defined as a situation that stresses the first responders as well the healthcare system in general. There are many different kinds of MCEs...

. Those who pass the course are then dispatched throughout the country and work with local volunteers in ambulances to provide initial medical care.

While the program was originally financially supported by the Jewish Agency for Israel
Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Agency for Israel , also known as the Sochnut or JAFI, served as the organization in charge of immigration and absorption of Jews from the Diaspora into the state of Israel.-History:...

, it has recently been taken over by the Israel Experience organization, which also offers programs for Jewish youths on Birthright Israel
Birthright Israel
Taglit-Birthright Israel is a Jewish Israeli registered charity that sponsors free 10-day heritage trips to Israel. Birthright Israel's goals are to diminish the division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world and to strengthen participants' personal Jewish identity and...

 trips.

Current status



Though MDA currently staffs approximately 1,200 emergency medical technician
Emergency medical technician
Emergency Medical Technician or Ambulance Technician are terms used in some countries to denote a healthcare provider of emergency medical services...

s, paramedic
Paramedic
A paramedic is a healthcare professional that works in emergency medical situations. Paramedics provide advanced levels of care for medical emergencies and trauma. The majority of paramedics are based in the field in ambulances, emergency response vehicles, or in specialist mobile units such as...

s and emergency physician
Emergency physician
An emergency physician is a physician who works at an emergency department to care for acutely ill patients. The emergency physician is a specialist in advanced cardiac life support , trauma care such as fractures and soft tissue injuries, and management of other life-threatening situations.In...

s, it still relies heavily on over 10,000 volunteers who serve in both operational and administrative capacities. MDA headquarters and its blood bank
Blood bank
A blood bank is a cache or bank of blood or blood components, gathered as a result of blood donation, stored and preserved for later use in blood transfusion. The term "blood bank" typically refers to a division of a hospital laboratory where the storage of blood product occurs and where proper...

 are located at the Tel HaShomer
Tel HaShomer
Tel HaShomer is a district in Gush Dan in central Israel. It is located east of Ramat Gan, and is bordered to the north by Kiryat Ono, to the east by Yehud, and to the south by Or Yehuda...

 complex in the center of the country.
The organization operates 119 stations over the country, with a fleet of over 700 ambulances nationwide. Among them: mobile intensive care unit
Ambulance
An ambulance is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, and in some instances will also provide out of hospital medical care to the patient...

s (MICU), special ambulances equipped for mass casualty events, and armored ambulances. Most of the fleet is made up of regular size vans providing Basic Life Support
Basic life support
Basic life support is the level of medical care which is used for patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries until the patient can be given full medical care at a hospital. It can be provided by trained medical personnel, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and by...

. These are called "Lavan" (which in Hebrew means "White") due to their external aspect and to differentiate them from the MICU which have orange stripes on the sides. They are manned by EMT
Emergency medical technician
Emergency Medical Technician or Ambulance Technician are terms used in some countries to denote a healthcare provider of emergency medical services...

s who generally have ranks equivalent to Basic and Intermediate EMTs in the US. In Israel, they are called "Ma'ar" (first responder
Certified first responder
A certified first responder is a person who has completed a course and received certification in providing pre-hospital care for medical emergencies. They have more skill than someone who is trained in basic first aid but they are not a substitute for advanced medical care rendered by emergency...

s), "Chovesh" (EMT-B+) and "Chovesh Bachir" (EMT-I). MICUs similar to the US Type II units and manned by paramedics and physicians respond only to the most medically serious cases. They are called Natan (if a physician is on board) or Atan (if it is only staffed by paramedics and EMTs). Major stations include special units (called "Taaran") for responding to mass casualty events
Mass casualty events
A mass casualty event is defined as a situation that stresses the first responders as well the healthcare system in general. There are many different kinds of MCEs...

 like natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

In some cases Air ambulance
Air ambulance
An air ambulance is an aircraft used for emergency medical assistance in situations where either a traditional ambulance cannot reach the scene easily or quickly enough, or the patient needs to be transported over a distance or terrain that makes air transportation the most practical transport....

 service is provided by Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 669 unit with MEDEVAC
MEDEVAC
Medical evacuation, often termed Medevac or Medivac, is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to the wounded being evacuated from the battlefield or to injured patients being evacuated from the scene of an accident to receiving medical facilities using...

 helicopters, however in 2008 MDA started to provide paramedics for three EMS MBB Bo 105s imported from Germany by Lahak Aviation Ltd. These three helicopters (out of four brought by Lahak) are being operated by Lahak Aviation's operating company, Shapirit Air Services Ltd. as Ambulance helicopters. Previous attempts by MDA to integrate independent helicopter service in the 1970s were unsuccessful due to high cost.http://www.shephard.co.uk/Rotorhub/default.aspx?Action=745115149&ID=740a002d-49f9-4da1-99e7-660482976627

Unique among civilian emergency medical services due to its role as national aid society according to the Geneva Conventions, MDA can become an auxiliary arm of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 during times of war.

Membership in Red Cross



From its creation until 2006, Magen David Adom had been denied membership in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human...

 since it has refused to replace its red Star of David emblem with a pre-approved symbol.

The reason for the denial of membership was concerns about symbol proliferation; at the same 1929 conference which granted use of the Red Crescent and Red Lion and Sun
Red Lion and Sun Society
The Red Lion and Sun Society of Iran was established in 1922 and admitted to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in 1923...

, a limitation was placed on acceptance of any further emblems. The "Red Star of David" symbol was not submitted to the ICRC until 1931.

Similar concerns of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Ceylon
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and the former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 regarding the use of non-Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 and seemingly religious symbols were also dismissed by the ICRC, but their national bodies chose to adopt the Red Cross as their official emblems in order to gain entry. The Red Cross — the inverse of the Swiss flag, the country of origin of the founder of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement — is not intended as a religious symbol, but is often perceived as such.

Critics of the ICRC assert discrimination since Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 were granted membership in 1929 while using the Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic Red Crescent as their emblem, citing the same concerns about the cross.


In her March 2000 letter to the International Herald Tribune
International Herald Tribune
The International Herald Tribune is a widely read English language international newspaper. It combines the resources of its own correspondents with those of The New York Times and is printed at 38 sites throughout the world, for sale in more than 160 countries and territories...

, Dr. Bernadine Healy
Bernadine Healy
Bernadine Patricia Healy was an American physician, cardiologist, academic and a former head of the National Institutes of Health . She was a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, professor and dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health at the Ohio State University, and served...

, then president of the American Red Cross
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross , also known as the American National Red Cross, is a volunteer-led, humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S...

, wrote: "The international committee's feared proliferation of symbols is a pitiful fig leaf
Fig leaf
A fig leaf is the covering up of an act or an object that is embarrassing or disagreeable. The term is a metaphorical reference to the Biblical Book of Genesis, in which Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover "their nakedness" after eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and...

, used for decades as the reason for excluding the Magen David Adom — the Shield (or Star) of David." In protest, the American Red Cross withheld millions in administrative funding to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human...

 (IFRC) since May 2000.

Since the mid-1990s, there has also been extensive and growing co-operation between MDA and the ICRC including, among other things, a USD$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

2.2 million expenditure on strengthening ties between the two organisations, the signing in 2000 of a two year co-operation statement, the permanent placement of an ICRC co-operation officer in MDA headquarters, and extensive support of the MDA's blood bank activities. In addition, there are bilateral cooperation agreements between MDA and a number of national Red Cross societies.

On December 7, 2005, a diplomatic conference of states party to the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

 adopted a third additional protocol, thereby introducing a new protective emblem, dubbed the "Red Crystal." This "third protocol emblem" is hailed as a truly universal emblem free of religious, ethnic, or political connotation. The new symbol is a red square frame tilted at a 45 degree angle. According to the rules of the third additional protocol, MDA can continue to use the Red Star of David as its sole emblem for indicative purposes within Israel. For indicative use in abroad missions, MDA can, depending on the specific situation in the host country, either incorporate the Red Star of David inside the Red Crystal or use the Red Crystal alone.

On June 22, 2006, MDA was recognised by the ICRC and admitted as a full member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, following adoption of the Red Crystal symbol in the statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement on the same level as the Red Cross and Red Crescent symbols.

Yonatan Yagodovsky, director of MDA’s fundraising department, said in an article published in October 2011 regarding the use of their logo in the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 that "MDA will continue to use its emblem and logo, and no one ever asked us to take it off."

Tracing service


Magen David Adom's tracing service was established to assist in locating relatives lost in the Holocaust. In 2000–2007, the service handled 5,000 applications.

Criticisms



The Magen David Adom blood drive came under criticism after reports that blood from Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

n donors had been discarded. Magen David Adom spokesman Yeruham Mendola responded to the claims by saying: "The guidelines set by the Ministry of Health determines that anyone who was born, or who lived for over a year since 1977 in central Africa
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

, southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 or the Caribbean islands, or has spent over six months in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, or was in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 or Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 for over 10 years — can choose not to donate blood, or donate blood, which is then marked, and know that it will not be used for transfusions." In 2006, a protest of some 10,000 Ethiopians outside the Prime Minister's office led to violent clashes with the police. Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

, serving as Vice Prime Minister in the cabinet of Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

, apologized to the Ethiopian Jewish community for this policy.

See also

  • Israel Fire and Rescue Services
    Israel Fire and Rescue Services
    The Israel Fire and Rescue Services is the Israeli state organization for fire fighting and rescuing. The organisation also provides rescue services from terror attacks, car accident and dangerous substance spillages, along with Magen David Adom, the National EMS. They are also involved in public...

  • ZAKA
    ZAKA
    ZAKA , is a series of voluntary community emergency response teams in Israel, each operating in a police district . These organizations are officially recognized by the government...

  • Hatzolah
    Hatzolah
    Hatzolah/Hatzalah is a volunteer Emergency Medical Service organization serving mostly Jewish communities around the world. Most local branches operate independently of each other, but use the common name...

  • Geneva Conventions
    Geneva Conventions
    The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

  • Protocol III
    Protocol III
    Protocol III is a 2005 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem. This protective sign may be displayed by medical and religious personnel at times of war, instead of the traditional Red Cross or Red Crescent symbols...

    , 2005 Geneva Convention amendment about the adoption of the Red Crystal emblem

External links