Introduction: On 28 November 2002, three suicide bombers crashed their car into a hotel in Mombassa, Kenya; 12 people were killed, including three Israelis, and 80 were wounded (22 of whom were Israeli). The Israeli Defense Force Airborne Medical Evacuation Flight Teams participated in a repatriation mission to bring the wounded home. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to outline the distinctive aspects of this mission, as well as to share the experiences and lessons learned. Methods: Israeli Army debriefing reports were used to study the composition of the crew, medical equipment taken, injury distribution, mode of operation, and mission schedule. Results: A total of six fixed-wing aircraft were used - two Boeing 707s and four Hercules C-130s - with a total of 54 medical team members on board. A total of 260 Israelis were repatriated, 22 of whom were wounded, and three were dead. Of the casualties, 14 were conveyed sitting, and eight supine. The time from the first landing in Kenya to the evacuation of the last supine patient was 5.5 hours. Nurses, as well as social workers, played a central role in the mission. A forward team, including five doctors, was used for the initial organization and for gathering information on the medical status of the casualties. Conclusions: There was redundancy in the medical crew and medical equipment sent. The need for improved infrastructure on the medical aircraft was stressed. Based on this experience, a new mode for operation for similar missions in the future was formulated.
- medical mission