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German Field Hospital in Rajlovac

By Cpl. David Thomas
First published in
SFOR Informer#104, January 10, 2001

Sarajevo - Wedged between the French-Italian heliport and the German heliport, in Rajlovac, the building seems dilapidated. Anonymous, nothing seems to differentiate it from the others. Only a few red crosses distinguish it - but that’s an important distinction This is the largest field hospital in the SFOR Theatre with some 250 German medical personnel working there everyday.
"One of our priorities is the improvement of this building," said Doctor Col. Herbert Port, Hospital Director. "Even if it might be less expensive to build a new hospital." Coming from the Bad Zwischenahn Military Hospital, 20 km from Bremen, Port also hopes to get some new operating rooms soon.
Equipped with sophisticated equipment, the services of this medical facility are as varied as in any civilian or military hospital, and are of paramount importance for SFOR. Rajlovac deals with problems varying from surgery to ophthalmology. It offers: internal medicine, surgery, anaesthesia, laboratories and specialised clinics. The Pharmacy is also used to support the medical stations of other camps in the area camps.
To ensure a double diagnosis, the Radiology Service, a five-strong team, is in permanent touch with Coblentz, the largest military hospital complex in Germany. The laboratory of bacteriology carries out numerous studies on the quality of water and food to avoid epidemics.
"A lot of small French city hospitals don't have equipment similar to this one," underlined Maj. Didier Bergamini, from French DETSOUT (Logistic Support), which often works in collaboration with Col. Port's teams.
"In Germany, we have university and civilian establishments to support us. Here, we have sophisticated equipment because we are the last stop," explained Medicine Lt. Col. Klaus Ebert, who is in charge for all emergency business. "We have three different roles: first of all, we are the German Contingent Hospital, then we serve MND-SE soldiers and finally COM SFOR. But, in reality we are a section open to all nationalities."
A score of ambulances are at the disposal of hospital. "We have six vehicles, including three Fuchs, which contain the emergency material. The others are simply transport ambulances," said Ebert, who usually works in Leipzig Hospital.
The personnel have another means of transport for emergencies. "During daylight, our helicopter can move at any time but, at night, helicopters from the French-Italian heliport take over," stated the Ebert.
On average, 15 patients occupy the buildings. But once 100 people were admitted at the same time. "We received 250 patients in three days for a problem of streptococcus, " added Ebert, who is in Bosnia for the fourth time.
The hospital complex carries out approximately 250 operations per annum. "The most typical cases are: firstly, car accidents, secondly, military vehicle accidents which leave the road and third of course problems with mines," explained the leader of emergency room.
Despite all their equipment and their good results, some key personnel shortages exist. "In fact, 25 doctors are working here. But we are missing a gynaecologist for example which is quite important given the number of women serving" underlined Ebert. "In the future, it would be good for us to become an international hospital with, why not, the co-orporation of local specialists."

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Germany
SFOR at Work