Avraham Rivkind, the chief of surgery at Hadassah Medical Center in jerusalem, has pioneered several medical techniques, including several that helped save victims of the Boston Marathon. attacks. (Hadassah Medical Center)
Techniques that were routine in Israel by 2005, and helped save lives in Boston last week, began evolving in the 1990s, when Israel experienced a spate of bus bombings. Israeli doctors “rewrote the bible of blast trauma,” said Avi Rivkind, the director of surgery at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, where 60 percent of Israeli victims have been treated.
Much of what Israel has learned about treating attack victims was done on the fly. In 1996, a 19-year-old soldier arrived at the Hadassah hospital following a bus bombing with severe injuries to her chest and esophagus. Doctors put chest drains on her lungs and performed endoscopies twice a day to stop the bleeding. Both techniques are now regular practices.
“We were sure she was going to die, and she survived,” Rivkind said.