For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Judy Siegel Health and Sci-Tech/JPost 27 February '10
Shaare Zedek Medical Center staffers who treated Haitian earthquake victims describe how procedures and conventions are adapted when a hospital is a collection of tents amidst chaos.
Some of the pillars of sound medical practice have to fall by the wayside when doctors and nurses treat desperate victims of mass catastrophes at a field hospital set up in the middle of hell. None of the sick or wounded is asked for his informed consent; providing privacy is an undreamed-of luxury; patients may be chosen according to who can be discharged soonest; cesarean sections are avoided if possible; and highly complex treatments are not given to victims who haven’t a chance of survival outside.
But other features of normal hospital procedures were used by members of the Israel Defense Forces team that flew to Haiti less than 24 hours after the horrific earthquake that shook Port-au-Prince six weeks ago. The doctors appointed an ethics committee to decide which victims should be admitted and which had a reasonable chance of survival. At least one of the staffers served as a medical clown to make patients smile in lieu of speaking their language. And each patient was discharged – usually to the street – with a CD containing his personal medical file, including x-rays and scans, for use in the event that he received professional follow-up later in the poorest country in the Americas.
The Israeli facility, set up as neatly arranged tents in a soccer field in the capital’s center and opened within hours of arrival, was staffed by a 121-member team with 40 doctors, 20 nurses, 20 paramedics and medics, 20 lab and X-ray technicians and administrators. Three of the physicians and one of the nurses who served there were staffers of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, while another worked with a separate nonprofit group in the disaster area. They thus constituted the largest delegation from any single Israeli hospital.
Two weeks ago, some 300 Shaare Zedek staffers crowded into the medical center’s Steinberg auditorium at 8 a.m. to attend an in-house clinical conference presented by the five who had returned from Haiti, armed with objective medical reports and emotional commentary and photos.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"