‘Training medics in combat will save lives’

The IDF will train all medics in basic combat procedures, an IDF official announced Monday, following studies after Operation Protective Edge which showed that the move could save medics’ lives.

Medics will be assigned to an infantry battalion in order to get more experience involving treating those wounded in combat, and will take part in both learning active combat procedures and training to fight terrorists and provide medical care during terror attacks.

IDF medics commanders’ course chief Lt. Ronen Kessler spoke toĀ MaarivĀ about the decision, which is among a slew of changes designed to be implemented in the IDF ahead of the next war.

“The goal is to train the paramedics through aĀ scenario whichĀ is very similar to today’s reality: we leaveĀ them at the southern border, and present aĀ scenario in which they are presented with two groups of people: prisoners, and armed terrorists,” he explained. “The medics had to treat the wounded and fight the terrorists – all in a surprise drill with no preparation.”

Paramedics who enlist today usually see the role as more of a medical role than a military oneĀ – a viewpoint Kessler seeks to change.

“In the past things would look different, paramedics were deployed duringĀ ground operations to save lives alone,” he reflected. “DuringĀ Protective Edge, we deployed some medics with the soldiers on the front line, and we realized that the approach must change.”

“Training medics in combat will save lives,” he said. “They are not only doing first aid but providingĀ advanced treatment, medications, and life-saving surgeries that any combat soldier is not capable of doing by himself.”