Physical Trauma Following Rocket Warning Sirens in Israel

Uri Manor, Sagy Apterman, Gal Ben-Haim, Dan Prat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Civilians constitute a significant wartime target, and trauma accounts for most of their injuries. Air raid sirens have long been used to alert civilians of incoming attacks and have since expanded to warn from natural disasters. Sirens are known to cause significant emotional distress and physiological changes. Injuries inflicted from trauma while moving for shelter have yet to be described in the medical literature. METHODS: During the recent Israel-Gaza conflict of May 2021, most of Israel's population experienced rocket warning sirens. We collected all adult (18<) patients arriving at a major tertiary medical center emergency department (ED), attesting to having suffered their injury while rushing for shelter. Clinical and demographic data were retrieved and analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 48 patients were identified, with a mean age of 59.6 ± 20.0. Ten (21%) patients were admitted, and their mean length of stay was 4.4 ± 3.7 days. Women had a higher probability of being hospitalized (42.9% vs. 5.9%, P = .04), and those hospitalized tended to be older (68.8 ± 16.4 vs. 54.8 ± 20.8, P = .06). Elderly patients (65<) had a higher risk of injury. Extremity injuries were most common (50%), before head trauma (29%) and torso injuries (25%). Most patients (38/48, 79.2%) were discharged from the ED, and the rest were hospitalized for observation or surgery. One patient died from a head injury. CONCLUSIONS: This study implies that injuries while moving for shelter were a prevalent cause of physical injury to Israeli civilians during the Israel-Gaza 2021 conflict. Warning sirens injuries should be given appropriate attention-from prevention by directed media campaigns to post-conflict reimbursement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2896-e2899
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume188
Issue number9-10
DOIs
StatePublished - 29 Aug 2023

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