Underground hospital

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An Underground Hospital is a building with facilities that can be moved into in order to protect its patients and medical personnel, primarily from attack during times of war. They were often used during World War II but very few now remain operational.



Ceppo Hospital of Pistoia in Italy

The Ceppo Hospital of Pistoia was founded in 1277 in a labyrinth of tunnels under the city and is one of the oldest continuously operating hospitals in the world.[1]

World War I

Carriere Suzanne in France

“Carriere Suzanne“ was an underground hospital built during the First World War in a limestone quarry the “Carrieres de Montigny”, north of Compiègne.[2]

Carrière Wellington in France

A hospital was built inside tunnels under Arras, named Carrière Wellington, with facilities for 700 beds.[3]

World War II

Hohlgangsanlage 8 in Jersey

Hohlgangsanlage 8 was an artillery storage tunnel build by Organisation Todt workers for the Germans during World War II in St. Lawrence, Jersey, which was converted to a hospital to deal with casualties after the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. The tunnel complex is open to the public during the summer months.

Hohlgangsanlage 7/40 in Guernsey

Hohlgangsanlage 7/40 (Ho.7/40) two interconnected cave passage installations of 7,000m²,[4]:37 were built in 1942-43 by German Fortress Engineer and Organisation Todt workers to store vehicles, ammunition, food, fuel and equipment. Part of Ho. 7/40 was equipped and used for a short while in 1944 as a hospital, as the planned hospital tunnel had not been built, however patients underground did not recuperate very well.[5]:35 The tunnel complex is open to the public during the summer months.

Mtarfa Hospital in Malta

During the Second World War, the Mtarfa Hospital was reorganized as the 90th General Hospital and expanded to accommodate a maximum of 1200 beds. An underground hospital was excavated under the military hospital.[6]

Modern Era

RAF Little Rissington in England

RAF Little Rissington was believed by locals to have a nuclear-proof underground hospital built by the United States Air Force. This rumour was, however, never verified. Little Rissington became the largest military contingency hospital in Europe. The aerodrome was cleared for C-130 Hercules and C-5 Galaxies. During the Gulf War, Little Rissington was held on its highest readiness state for several decades as it prepared for casualties. The USAF left Little Rissington in 1993 and it was handed back to the Royal Air Force.



Israel currently has five hospitals dedicated with underground facilities. 2 of the hospitals have underground car parks which can be converted into hospital wards complete with operating rooms and Emergency Rooms at short notice. Two others have dedicated underground bunkers.

During the 2006 Lebanon War, Northern Israel was heavily bombarded by rockets in civilian populated areas as well as rockets landing within close proximity to hospitals in the area, during which the Emergency Rooms in Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, continued treating over 7000 routine-emergency patients and war casualties while under fire. It was decided then that Israel was in need of hospitals capable of withstanding attack against their facilities, while continuing with Patient Care.

Sourasky Medical Center

Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center is the main hospital serving Tel Aviv, Israel. It is the third-largest hospital complex in the country.[7]

In 2011, a 700-1,000 bed bombproof emergency facility was opened. The building, with 13 stories above ground and four stories underground, provides protection against conventional, chemical and biological attack. Construction began in 2008. The cost of the building was $110 million, with a donation of $45 million from Israeli billionaire Sammy Ofer.[8] The architect was Arad Sharon, grandson of Arieh Sharon who designed the original facility.[9]

Rambam Hospital

Rambam Health Care Campus the largest medical center in northern Israel and fifth largest in Israel, began in October 2010 work on a protected emergency underground hospital designed to withstand conventional, chemical, and biological attacks. The project included a three-floor parking lot that could be transformed at short notice into a 2,000-bed hospital. The hospital can generate its own power and store enough oxygen, drinking water and medical supplies for up to three days.[10]

At the dedication, RHCC Director General Prof. Rafael Beyar said "The ER was filled with badly wounded. I looked at the physicians and nurses ignoring the [exploding] missiles. The need for a modern, protected building was obvious, and we at Rambam took it upon ourselves as a national mission."

Beilinson Hospital

The 90 million shekel fortified emergency room at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah has gone operational, becoming Israel’s largest ER. The 5,000 square meter (58,000 square feet) facility is capable of treating 200,000 patients annually.

The new facility is underground and bomb proof and offers the best medicine has to offer. Each patient has his or her own room, unlike standard ERs in which patients are separated by a curtain which adds a measure of patient privacy.

There is also a trauma center capable of addressing numerous patients simultaneously.[11]

Included in the facility is dedicated imaging facilities, including X-ray, CT scan, and Ultrasound.

Shaare Zedek Medical Center

Shaare Zedek Medical Center has a three-story underground facility that can be activated in times of war.

Hadassah Medical Center

Hadassah Medical Center Ein Kerem campus has a five-floor underground facility.



The rail entrance to the complex at Södersjukhuset, 1940s.

The hospital Södersjukhuset in Stockholm has an underground complex measuring 4,700 square meters (50,600 square feet) called DEMC (Disaster Emergency Center), which was completed and inaugurated on 25 November 1994. In peacetime the complex is used for training and scientific research. In case of disaster or war the complex is fully operational as a normal hospital, it has 270 beds in peacetime and 160 in wartime. [12]


Doctors and international N.G.O.s have created an elaborate network of underground hospitals throughout Syria. Installing cameras in intensive-care units, so that doctors abroad can monitor patients by Skype and direct technicians to administer proper treatment.[13]


In 2016, because of the number of hospitals that have been damaged or destroyed in the city, hospitals have moved underground. [14]


  1. ^ "The Museum of Pistoia Underground". turismo.intoscana.
  2. ^ "Carrieres de Montigny: Abandoned WW1 Underground Hospital". Argunners. 15 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Wellington Quarry — la Carrière Wellington, Arras". The Great War 1914-1918.
  4. ^ German Tunnels in Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. Festung Guernsey. ISBN 978-0-9549334-4-9.
  5. ^ Van Grieken, Gilbert. Destination Gustav. Guernsey Press 1992.
  6. ^ "MILITARY HOSPITALS IN MALTA". vassallohistory.
  7. ^ Ayala Hurwicz (2007-05-07). "Sheba - Largest Hospital in Israel" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2007-09-14.
  8. ^ Tel Aviv hospital unveils largest bombproof medical facility in Israel
  9. ^ Interview with Ichilov head Gabriel Barbash, Haaretz
  10. ^ http://www.rambam.org.il/NR/exeres/3ECBA18C-AAA0-4ABD-8FBC-22881D68CC50,frameless.htm?NRMODE=Published
  11. ^ http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/253474/beilinson-hospital-opens-israels-largest-er-which-is-fortified.html
  12. ^ Glömd historia: Det underjordiska sjukhuset Article about the Disaster Emergency Center at Södersjukhuset Retrieved 2016-08-29 Template:Swedish
  13. ^ "The Shadow Doctors". The New Yorker. 27 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Inside the underground hospital built to treat Aleppo's children". msn. 15 August 2016.
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