Article - MAGEN DAVID ADOM - 50TH ANNIVERSARY 15/04/1980
MAGEN DAVID ADOM - 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Magen David Adom, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1980, traces its origins back to the First Aid Squads formed at the time of the 1929 riots which in turn led to the founding of a First Aid Society in Tel Aviv in the following June 1930. Within a few months, the first group of volunteers was organized, and with donations provided by the people of Tel Aviv, the first ambulance was acquired and put into service. Other cities followed in the footsteps of Tel Aviv and in the course of time additional branches were established all over the country.
The Magen David Adom network today comprises several dozen branches supplemented by ambulance stations in numerous settlements. Thousands of volunteer workers, assisted by a small full-time staff, put the ideas of the founders of the organization into practice. The MDA also operates a Blood Donor service consisting of persons ready to donate blood whenever required.
In the pre-state period, there was hardly any sphere of national service with which the MDA was not associated: the establishment of the "Tower and Stockade" ("Homa-u-Migdal") settlements; the provision of first aid instruction and equipment to the watchmen training Wingate's Special Night Squads; helping to land illegal immigrants; tending the wounded in the riots and bombings of Tel Aviv in World War II; dispatching welfare teams to the Balkans following the Allied landings in Italy and sending medical supplies to UNRRA for the European refugees.
The Magen David Adom is a voluntary organization established by a special Knesset law (the Magen David Adom Law, 1950) with the object of providing certain services to the population of Israel. Under the terms of this Law, the MDA was recognized as the sole organization authorized to carry out those functions allocated by the Geneva Convention to Red Cross Societies.
The MDA's staff and its thousands of volunteers, its branches, ambulances, bloodmobiles, stores and sophisticated communications system make up an integrated network which permits it to carry out all those tasks allocated to it in times of peace as well as in times of emergency. The MDA serves as an auxiliary arm of the IDF Medical Corps in times of war, preparing itself for this purpose in times of peace.
The MDA provides its services through a network of branches and ambulance stations all over the country. These services range from the provision of first aid to special intensive care ambulances for heart patients; blood services - the provision and stockpiling of blood; first aid instruction; assistance to the Police and Civil Defense Forces in times of emergency; the maintenance of a countrywide communications network and medical stores for use in all kinds of emergency and disasters. Our two stamps are devoted to the special service to heart patients and the blood services.
One of the latest developments in the field of medicine is the special service to heart patients. However, in spite of its name, MDA's heart service takes care of any person whose life is in danger, including cases of injury. This service is based on the principle of resuscitation and the immediate provision of intensive on the spot care. Since the first minutes following any interruption of breathing or the action of the heart are liable to decide the fate of the patient, it is important that he immediately receive intensive care as if he were already in the hospital casualty ward.
The Heart Service team consists of a doctor, specially trained paramedic and a driver. The equipment is highly sophisticated portable resuscitation equipment including that found in the Intensive Care Unit so that treatment can commence immediately, no matter where the patient is. In the near future, special telemetric equipment will be added, enabling the team to transmit the patient's ECG to the hospital and receive instructions as to the treatment required.
This service is currently available in a limited number of locations, mainly in the cities and several towns and is operated jointly by the MDA and the regional hospital concerned. The service has been instrumental in saving numerous lives in the short time that it has been in operation.
Another important service supplied by the MDA is the Blood Service whose principal function is to ensure a supply of blood to meet the current needs of the civilian and military medical services. The blood is collected by the branches of MDA which operate a Blood Donor Service for the civilian population, the Blood Bank, the Armed Forces and a fleet of bloodmobiles serving places of work all over the country.
The MDA collects some 130,000 units of blood per annum which represents 80% of the total supply and provides the hospitals and the Armed Forces with their requirements. The Central Blood Bank acts as a control center and receives daily information from all the hospitals and MDA branches on their stocks of blood.
This information enables MDA to match the supply of blood to the needs of each hospital by arranging inter-hospital transfers as required.
The Central Blood Bank also has a Blood-Freezing Unit capable of freezing up to 500 portions of blood. The Unit freezes and stores rare types of blood donated by persons who may need it at some future date and also freezes a quantity of type "0 negative" whenever a surplus is available. The frozen blood is then sorted by sub-types, some of which are very rare.
The Blood Service is organized to provide a whole range of emergency services: an organized blood donor network; teams to take blood from donors and teams of laboratory workers, equipment and vehicles for the fixed and mobile blood donor stations; a network of blood donors (exempt from military service) in towns and settlements and major places of work throughout the country.
The Blood Services also include an Institute for the production of plasma which is the sole Israeli producer and supplier of albumin and gama-globulin for use in treating cases of shock, wounds and burns and for various inoculations.
The two stamps depict the medical services given by Magen David Adom. One represents its blood service; the other its mobile intensive care unit. The inscription of the mobile intensive care unit stamp is: "Whoever saves one life has saved an entire world." The tab inscription for both stamps is : "50th Anniversary of Magen David Adom."