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The experience of a battalion physician in the Yom Kippur War
  1. Itzhak Brook
  1. Correspondence to Cdr Ret USN Itzhak Brook, Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University, 4431 Albemarle St. NW, Washington DC, 20016, USA; ib6{at}


A medical officer's tasks during wartime are especially complex and difficult. This article describes the numerous challenges faced while serving as a battalion physician in the Israeli Army during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. I had to take care of the medical and psychological needs of the hundreds of soldiers in the battalion and also needed to ensure the health of my own medical team so that we could effectively serve those on the battlefield. At the same time, I had to deal with my own anxieties and fear as I experienced the high human cost of war. I also had to constantly assess our strategic situation; be informed of and anticipate future events; make sure that the medical team acted appropriately in the field; be a role model to others; practice preventive medicine; deal with my soldiers’ fears, anxieties and post-traumatic stress; be always available to those in need; improvise when needed and maintain my compassion for human life—even when the life was the enemy's.


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