An insider’s look at the new construction projects currently underway at Rambam Health Care Campus.

Debbie Hemstreet provided an insider’s look at the new construction projects currently underway at Rambam Health Care Campus.
Note from Elephant: this has since been completed.

Topics Covered

  • The Sammy Ofer Fortified Underground Emergency Hospital—To provide emergency acute and chronic care while under fire, the focus of the meeting, described below
  • The Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital—To provide “pain free” pediatric care to serve the physical and emotional needs of children and their families
  • The Biomedical Discover Tower—To conduct clinical research that leads to improved patient care in collaboration with academic institutions and the biomedical industry
  • The Cardiovascular Hospital—To provide cardiovascular diagnosis, treatments, research, and disease risk reduction in one facility, using the integrated cardiovascular care model
  • The Joseph Fishman Oncology Center—To provide cancer treatments including experimental treatments resulting from research conducted at Rambam that were previously unavailable

Importance and Strategic Location

Rambam HCC is strategically located on the coast of Haifa, serving as the tertiary hospital for all of northern Israel. It has the highest survival rate for trauma patients in the country.  In addition to being the main hospital for the two million citizens of the north, it also serves the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the US Sixth Fleet, and UNIFIL forces. Lessons from the 2006 Lebanon war, in which more than 60 rockets landed within one mile of Rambam HCC, established the need for providing acute and chronic care while under attack.

The fortified underground emergency hospital consists of a fortified underground structure used as a three-level, 1,500-car parking lot during peace time. Within 72 hours, the parking lot can be cleared, disinfected, and converted to a 2,000-bed hospital that can withstand conventional, biological, and chemical weapons. The largest of its kind in the world, it will serve acute trauma and medical patients, as well as patients with chronic conditions that require hospitalization such as cardiac, cancer, and dialysis patients.

Current Status, Funding and Needs

The construction project was paid for through the generosity of the late Mr. Sammy Ofer, as well as private and government funds. The fortified underground structure is completed. However, it is not yet equipped. The underground fortified hospital requires special equipment that can be stored in the walls and storage units, and pulled out when needed.

Since the 1970s, all government hospitals have been dependent upon the generosity of donors to upgrade their facilities and equipment. Hence, Rambam HCC is currently raising funds to equip the underground hospital with the 2,000-beds needed. Click here for more information about the 2,000 bed campaign. Debbie stressed that it is important for all the people of Northern Israel to know about this project, and encouraged us to tell our friends, family, and colleagues about this important project.

Debbie felt that the importance of the fortified underground emergency hospital is perhaps best understood by the theme of “תבה”, teva, inspired by the Bible, where this word appears twice. This term is used first in Genesis 6:14, where it means the ark that Noah built. It is used again in Exodus 2:3, where it means the basket in which Miriam placed Moses.  In both instances it means refuge and safety, capturing the intention of the hospital.

What Does This Have To Do With Technical Writing?

Being a technical writer at Rambam HCC has provided Debbie with unique opportunities. In addition to documenting technical medical information, she has a role in editing and publishing the Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, an international, peer-reviewed journal, with online open access at

Debbie’s responsibilities include working with the marketing group at Rambam. In this capacity, she had the opportunity of writing the script for Rambam’s “identity” movie. Debbie said that the challenge in editing the script was to fit a great deal of content into a short period of time. She found it very satisfying to work with a team and be involved in a project that means something.

There were plenty of opportunities to speak with each other, providing both fellowship and a chance to hear what other writers are doing.  Everyone who attended the meeting received a copy of Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal and Rambam on Call, a journal to inform the general public about Rambam’s activities. Kathy Penn and Sharon Mink, who arranged for arranged for us to use an excellent hall at ZIM, commented that the location at a company owned by the Ofer brothers was especially appropriate to talk about the hospital which was made possible by the donation of the late Sammy Ofer.

You can learn more about Debbie Hemstreet at

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