Following the signing in 2004 of a historic Memorandum of Understanding, mutually beneficial relationships continue to develop between The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, and the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) in Jerusalem.

The State of Victoria, Australia, has contributed funding for this collaborative project as part of a state initiative on disaster response preparedness. The goal is information sharing and research, using HMO’s world-class standards for managing mass casualty trauma and The Alfred’s comparable expertise in managing victims of road trauma.

In July, a team of professionals from The Alfred came to HMO to learn about dealing with mass casualty due to terrorist action or natural disaster. They were impressed with not only the management of victims at Hadassah, but also with the way Hadassah handles security, deals with terror-related stress disorders, victim identification, and getting information out to the community. Alfred’s Director of Neurosurgery, Jeffrey Rosenfeld, who is also a Colonel in the Australian Defense Forces, observed that Hadassah’s drills for decontamination of casualties of a chemical, biological or radiation attack could be used anywhere in the world. He was impressed with HMO’s outstanding knowledge and cutting-edge capacity for triage.

The Alfred team noted with admiration that all political tensions were left at the hospital’s doors. Professor Rosenfeld reflected on how HMO was an amazing example of the way “different beliefs and religions can work in a harmonious way for the benefit of mankind.”

Also this summer, John Lenders, the Minister of Finances who oversees the Transport Accident Commission and the fight against road accidents in Victoria, came to see our hospitals. While he toured the trauma unit, the Minister discussed with Hadassah staff HMO’s pilot program in three Jerusalem high schools aimed at preventing road accidents and how HMO can benefit from the Australian expertise.

The Alfred is now looking forward to welcoming a team from Jerusalem to Australia later this year.