Heliport Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) in the West Bank: Transportation Perspective

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Dirawi, Anas
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An-Najah National University
This thesis aims to locate and set principles to help engineers and city planners to ensure achieving the most effective Heliport Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) in the West Bank, and the effectiveness of new heliports. This thesis looks at the West Bank as an example of how a HEMS system could be built to assist the ambulance services and harness new technologies to serve the Palestinian society. In order to determine the current medical situation in Palestine, data were conducted from competent authorities. The current demand for ground EMS in the West Bank was analyzed. In addition, the most appropriate locations for HEMS were selected based on the general condition of Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) hospitals and the population coverage rate at the least possible response time. In this manner, the Maximal Covering Location Problem (MCLP) technique was used through ArcMap GIS software. Data collection on the current ground EMS demand showed that it has an average of 1.167 trips/veh/day (83,000 trips per year), and many rural communities have a response time of more than 25 minutes which is high. As for HEMS coverage rate and response time, several scenarios have been assumed and the most appropriate scenario was two helipads with one helicopter in each of Hebron (Halhul city) and Nablus governorates with a maximum response time of 25 minutes for a 100% coverage rate, and the expected demand for these helipads would be around 0.23 patients per hour, which means more than 2000 patients per year. Furthermore, the design for the main elements of the helipad was conducted, as well as the development of a special logistic system connecting HEMS and ground EMS. In addition, a ground-level helipad in the parking lot of the Red Crescent Hospital in Halhul and the compound of Nablus Governorate Building are recommended. Also, the main determinant of the mode of transport (GEMS or HEMS) should be clinical requirements, with cost considerations treated separately using policy and procedure guidelines. Using HEMS will save lots of lives and will improve the quality and efficiency of the health sector in the West Bank. Furthermore, HEMS will give the same opportunity and hope, to everyone, wherever they are. Finally, the International Human Rights Law (IHRL) affords special protection to medical property and personnel whose mission is to save lives and provide health care for civilians and combatants alike. However, the Palestinian air domain is under the control of Israeli occupation authorities, which do not allow the Palestinians to use it. Thus, the Palestinian authorities may not be able to operate the HEMS nowadays.
Heliport Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) in the West Bank: Transportation Perspective