Implementing the Sphere Project’s standards for patient’s healthcare rights in the disaster zone: The experience of the Israeli field hospital in post-quake Nepal


  • Deganit Kobliner-Friedman, RN, MPH
  • Ofer Merin, MD
  • Eran Mashiach, MD
  • Reuven Kedar, MD
  • Shai Schul, MHA
  • Evan Avraham Alpert, MD



patient rights, disasters, World Health Organization


Emergency medical teams (EMTs) encounter chaos upon arriving at the scene of a disaster. Rescue efforts are utilitarian and focus on providing the technical aspects of medical care in order to save the most lives at the expense of the individual. This often neglects the basic healthcare rights of the patient. The Sphere Project was initiated to develop universal humanitarian standards for disaster response.

The increase in the number of EMTs led the World Health Organization (WHO) to organize standards for disaster response. In 2016, the WHO certified the Israel Defense Forces Field Hospital (IDF-FH) as the first to be awarded the highest level of accreditation (EMT-3). This paper presents the IDF-FHs efforts to protect the patients healthcare rights in a disaster zone based on the Sphere Principles.

These core Sphere Principles include the right to professional medical treatment; the right to dignity, privacy, and confidentiality; the right for information in an understandable language; the right to informed consent; the obligation to maintain private medical records; the obligation to adhere to universal ethical standards, to respect culture and custom and to care for vulnerable populations; the right to protection from sexual exploitation and violence; and the right to continued treatment.

Author Biographies

Deganit Kobliner-Friedman, RN, MPH

Department of Emergency Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel; IDF Field Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan, Israel

Ofer Merin, MD

Director General, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Affiliated with the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel; IDF Field Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan, Israel

Eran Mashiach, MD

Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Schneider Children’s Medical Center, Petach Tikva, Israel; IDF Field Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan, Israel

Reuven Kedar, MD

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Carmel Medical Center; Faculty of Medicine, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel; IDF Field Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan, Israel

Shai Schul, MHA

Head of Operational Branch, IDF Medical Corps, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan, Israel; Chief of Operations, IDF Field Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan, Israel

Evan Avraham Alpert, MD

Department of Emergency Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel; IDF Field Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Ramat Gan, Israel


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How to Cite

Kobliner-Friedman, RN, MPH, D., O. Merin, MD, E. Mashiach, MD, R. Kedar, MD, S. Schul, MHA, and E. A. Alpert, MD. “Implementing the Sphere Project’s Standards for patient’s Healthcare Rights in the Disaster Zone: The Experience of the Israeli Field Hospital in Post-Quake Nepal”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 16, no. 1, Jan. 2021, pp. 59-66, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2021.0387.