Trauma expert: Las Vegas needs to be prepared for the worst

LAS VEGAS -- There is a growing crisis in the Middle East, with the war between Israel and Hamas escalating.

One of the world's top trauma experts is in Las Vegas for a convention, and is cutting his trip short to rush back to treat Israeli soldiers.

He is the doctor who has seen the most critical injuries and has saved lives when others were ready to give up on the patient. Dr. Avi Rivkind is ready to share some lessons with Las Vegas.

Whether it is an act of terrorism or natural disaster, Israeli Dr. Avi Rivkind is one of the top physicians in his field in mass-casualty emergencies.

"We have this war. We didn't intend to start war. We are there, and we are fighting it all our life. We don't have a choice," Dr. Rivkind said.

Rivkind is head of Hadassah Medical Center's trauma unit in Jerusalem. From the Hadassah Women's Jewish Convention at the Venetian and Palazzo, he is closely monitoring Israel's Operation Protective Edge and consulting with other physicians.

"Just now, I received an e-mail some of the soldiers started bleeding, they told me about it, and asked me what to do," Dr. Rivkind said.

One of Rivkind's specialties is blast trauma. His terror medicine techniques were used in Boston after last year's marathon bombing.

"It is another textbook, blast trauma, and we have a lot of experience, and people are using it. Thank God, we save lives," Dr. Rivkind said.

In the post-9/11 world, Rivkind says we must be prepared for the unthinkable as well. When an Al Qaeda sleeper cell was busted 12 years ago investigators found a videotape of a Las Vegas Strip resort and five of the 9/11 hijackers met in Las Vegas three months before the attack.

"With all the casinos and people are coming here from all over the world, I think you should take a huge situation," Dr. Rivkind said, "I don't want to give anybody any ideas; however you should be well prepared. In my mind, it's a question of time."

Rivkind says he would provide trauma training at the Hadassah Medical Center in Israel for anyone involved in Las Vegas disaster preparedness, including first responders, medical staff, and administrators. He offered to do that for free in the event Las Vegas has a full-scale emergency.


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