Israel: IDF officer dies, 34 runners evacuated to hospitals after falling ill at Tel Aviv Marathon – 160313 1400z

Soldier dies after completing half-marathon in Tel Aviv in 90-degree heat wave

More than 80 runners treated for heat related injuries .

Rescue services spokesman Zaki Heller says the runner collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, but medics were unable to resuscitate him.

The race was run in 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) heat.

Heller says four other runners who collapsed from the heat have been put in a medically induced comas and are on respirators at a Tel Aviv hospital.

He says medics have treated more than 50 runners at the race.

Race organizers last week postponed the full marathon (42 kilometer) race initially scheduled for Friday in anticipation of a forecast heat wave. But organizers allowed the half-marathon (21 kilometer) race to proceed.

Saturday, 16 March, 2013 at 05:05 (05:05 AM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

“Tragedy at Tel Aviv Marathon:The runner who passed away on Friday is a 30-year old sergeant major in the IDF. The man, identified as Michael Michaelvich, died after falling ill during the Tel Aviv Marathon. He is survived by his wife and one-month-old son.

Dozens of runners were hit by the massive heat: 80 participants needed medical treatment during and after the race.

Some 34 runners were evacuated to hospitals in the area. Of the 16 evacuated to the Sourasky Medical Center, one was admitted to hospital in serious condition. Six runners were evacuated to Tel HaShomer, including one in serious condition, the rest sustained minor injuries. At first, it was announced that 12 runners were in serious condition but their condition has since improved.

Magen David Adom medics initially reported that the injured were unconscious and undergoing artificial respiration, a few even requiring CPR.

The first aid tent at the starting point has become a field hospital with more and more runners arriving at the scene on stretchers due to suspected dehydration.
(צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Runners in the marathon (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
עשרות רצים נזקקו לטיפול רפואי  (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Runners receiving medical care

Maximum temperatures in Tel Aviv are set to reach 36C degrees. The heavy heat led organizers to postpone the full marathon heat but the shorter heats were moved forward to earlier start times.

Magen David Adom Spokesman Zachy Heller told media outlets that medical teams were treating runners who fainted as early as 8:00 am, and five runners were in serious condition with one runner in critical condition.

“They are all young people in their 30s who are suffering from heat strokes,” he said. The five need resuscitation and one runner required CPR. “The injured were all transferred to Tel HaShomer, Wolfson and Sourasky Medical Centers.”
(צילום: אורן אהרוני)

Over 50 runners receive medical care (Photo: Oren Aharoni)

Heller added that the medical teams prepare for these situations every year but “this year the cases are especially severe. From the early hours of the morning we’ve treated over 50 people along the marathon courses, they’re all suffering from dehydration, heat stroke and fainting fits.”

Commenting on the tragedy, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai told Ynet “the event is sad and troubling. The municipality did an outstanding job in preparing the race for the runners participating. Everything was done in coordination with the Health Ministry and the preparation was excellent.

“Things must be investigated to a tee, however, there has yet to be a marathon without injuries,” Huldai said.

‘Race should’ve been cancelled’

Huldai addressed the fact that the full marathon heat was postponed while the shorter heats, including the 22K

and the 10K runs were set to go ahead as usual in spite of the expected heat wave and said: “I don’t think the event should have been cancelled. I don’t know exactly what’s happening right now

“We moved the main marathon. Cancelling meant cancelling everything and then we could not have held the marathon at all. Barack Obama is here next week.”

Ynet has learned that Health Ministry officials recommended that the Tel Aviv Municipality postpone the race in light of the heavy heat, however, in internal discussions the municipality choose to disregard the recommendation and conduct the race.

In response to the tragedy, the Health Ministry director general has instructed the ministry to form a professional committee of inquiry in cooperation with the Sport Ministry “to formulate criteria for holding such events in regards to weather conditions, which will be mandatory protocol for organizers.”

Professor Pinny Halpern, Chair of Emergency Medicine at the Sourasky Medical Center who treated the injured at the MDA “field hospital” told Ynet: This (tragedy) was a given, we knew it would be hot which is why we held discussions with the Tel Aviv municipality and the Health Ministry and consulted with physiologists and medical experts

The final decision was to postpone the full marathon and have the shorter heats start earlier (in the morning).”

Halpern noted that “We were all concerned, but on the other hand the conditions weren’t supposed to be this hard on the short heat runners. I think that a combination of the heat surging at 7 am and the lack of wind and increase in humidity created harsher conditions.”

Tel Aviv’s major streets and traffic routes were closed late Thursday night for the marathon which attracts tens of thousands of runners every year.

Neri Brener, Itamar Fleishman, Shahar Chai, Attila Somfalvi, Eli Senyor, Doron Kuperstein and Oren Aharoni contributed to the report” – Ynetnews

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