An eyewitness account of treating terror victims

By Devorah Aviad, April 17, 2008

Arriving on the scene of a terror attack, you try to neutralise your personal feelings, not to form any connection with the wounded, to let your professional training take over. But the attack on November 4 2001 [when a Palestinian fired at a number 25 Egged bus] was one of the most difficult for me, so many children hurt on the way back from school. We were on alert at the Magen David Adom headquarters in Jerusalem when we got the call that there had been shooting at the French Hill junction. On reaching the scene, I found out that a terrorist had raked a bus with automatic fire and there were dozens of wounded and two dead children. Most of the wounded were about 14 or 15. It was one of the most difficult cases that I remember from the intifada. When we discovered the number of casualties, as the senior medical professional on the spot I had to stop treating them myself and start giving instructions to the other medics and ambulance-drivers for the next 30 minutes until the last of the casualties was evacuated. It seemed a lot longer than that. There is no choice but to try and disconnect yourself from all feeling. Only later on, at home in the evening, it all returns to you vividly. I do not remember what I did that day before the attack, or afterwards, but I remember everything that happened there. How I had to walk between the rows of casualties and decide how to treat each of them, when to evacuate them and to which hospital. And discovering the dead bodies.

Last updated: 12:15pm, September 16 2008