Impact of military conflict on a civilian receiving hospital in a war zone

Ann Surg. 2009 Mar;249(3):502-9. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e318199f232.


Objective: To study the impact of war on the workload/finances of a community hospital adjacent to the front.

Summary background data: Community hospitals located nearby/within military conflict zones treat trauma casualties while providing routine surgical services to the community.

Methods: Observational study conducted in Ziv hospital (1 of 3 designated receiving hospitals during the second Lebanon War (12/7/2006-14/8/2006). Data were documented in real-time and retrieved retrospectively from computerized databases.

Results: Ziv treated 1509 military/civilian casualties. Seven percent were at least moderately injured. 27.5% of the casualties required admission, preferentially to surgical wards. Critical mortality rate was 7%. There were 48 secondary transfers, half from the department of emergency medicine (ED) and half after in-hospital stabilization/emergency surgery including 7 to free intensive care (ICU) beds to accommodate expected casualties. The General Surgery department (GSD) performed 81 operating room (OR) procedures, including explorations/debridements for casualties (n = 24, 0-3 per-day), laparotomies for acute abdomen (n = 33) and cancer surgery (n = 11).Compared with previous/later years, there were 23% more trauma casualties presenting to the ED and an increased OR workload for Orthopedic surgery. Decreases occurred in the number of elective and emergency admissions (10%), obstetric deliveries (28%), OR procedures (33%), GSD OR procedures (44%), hospital revenues (up to 43%), yearly hospitalization days (7%), number of hospitalized patients, bed occupancy rates, and visits to outpatient clinics (all 5%).

Conclusions: Treatment of civilian/military casualties resulted in reorganization of hospital operations with significantly decreased accrued revenue. The bulk of the GSD workload shifts from the OR to the ED/wards while Orthopedic procedures and ICU beds become bottlenecks to patient flow during war.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Community / economics
  • Hospitals, Community / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Community / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Warfare*
  • Workload
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*
  • Young Adult