Soroka Hospital: On The Front Line Of A Just Cause

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Israel’s recent Solid-Rock-Protective Edge action in Gaza, that aimed to degrade Hamas and stop the rockets resulted in injuries to many Israeli soldiers. All the injured soldiers were first taken to Soroka Medical Center for their initial treatment

One morning while that action was going on, Avi Kadmon, a man of good intentions and action woke up and knew there was something he could do to help. His idea was to help the Soroka Medical Center.

Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld, the Executive Director of American Friends of Soroka Medical Center, was a previously a banker. Three years ago Rachel left banking because she discovered her true calling, working with American Friends of Soroka. She loves to network and ask people to help the medical center. She says, “It is my passion, my honor and respect to help and tell the story of Soroka.”

I had the honor of interviewing the Director General of Soroka Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Moti Klein M.D. The ICU now has 16 stations, equipped with the state-of-the-art medical equipment. Each room can be converted, immediately and as necessary, into an operating room. Recognized for training ICU specialists, the ICU has a multidisciplinary dedicated staff, considered among the best in Israel.

Dr. Moti Klein M.D. was originally from Haifa, and graduated from Soroka medical school. He met a girl from Jerusalem, they married, and settled in Be’er-Sheva. Dr. Klein served as a medical officer in the IDF Medical Corps, specialized in internal medicine and completed his fellowship in Canada.

In the past 8 years, Soroka has treated civilian casualties and wounded soldiers, civilians injured by rockets and missiles and IDF soldiers wounded in activities that aim to neutralize the terror threat from Israel’s south.

During the current war Soroka hospital treated more than 700 soldiers and 300 civilians. Dr. Klein’s unit received 30 soldiers with life-threatening injuries. The hospital heliport was busy, with helicopters landing, bringing in the wounded, and at the same time, the hospital’s normal procedures carried on, with mothers giving birth.

Dr. Klein proudly tells the world that not one family of an injured soldier questioned why their son was in Gaza and for what he sacrificed his life.

Dr. Klein described the Hospital’s situation at that time “Let me take you to that day, last month, when missiles began to fly over Israel. Our staff looked at each other, they did not have to say a word to understand that we also live in the places being attacked. We also have children serving in the IDF that would be called and go into Gaza. We also have friends who lost sons in the past. As soon as a name was given to what was happening, ‘Operation Protective Edge,’ we knew we were dealing with more than a ‘normal’ exchange of fire and with unbearable tension and we counted the minutes until the first injured would arrive…”

“Good communication allowed us to know when soldiers were wounded, the type and the severity of the injury, and when the helicopter succeeded in reaching them. We knew that as precious time passed, and the helicopter did not succeed reaching the wounded and bleeding, the chances of bringing him alive, with 9 minutes flying time to Soroka heliport, were becoming slimmer…”

While the war was ongoing, there was tremendous interest in the hospital. The corridors were full of government ministers, members of Knesset and other curious parties who saw the need to visit the injured, take photos and make speeches. But they all quickly forgot the speeches and the promises. Soroka lost a fortune during the war. Services, such as scheduled elective operations and treatments, for which the hospital gets paid, were canceled and the income stopped. There is no need for a war to know that a hospital is not built by the state. One can visit a hospital and see that each wing carries the name of a donor whose money built it. And Soroka hospital is not expecting the government to make good on its promises. It will not.

Soroka Heliport
Soroka Heliport

Fundraiser At The Mark Events Hall In Los Angeles

Dana Erlich is the Consul for Culture, Media and Public Diplomacy at the Consulate General of Israel, Los Angeles. On behalf of the entire consulate staff, she thanked Soroka and its staff for their dedication and hard work for Israel’s just cause, her security, and she thanked the supportive audience who attended the event.

Academy Award winning actor Jon Voigh”Israel is there to teach us all how to get back to moral structure.”t, a staunch supporter of the State of Israel, made a surprise appearance. He told the audience why he supports Israel, approach he learned from his father, and why he will do whatever is in his power to help the Jewish state.

Jon Voight.
Jon Voight.

Avi Kadmon organized the fundraising event, Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld flew in from New York to attend and help, Dr. Klein came especially from Israel to tell the audience about Soroka and stories from his ICU, relating to the war, Dana Erlich thanked Soroka on behalf of the State of Israel. Singer Tamara Gabriel sang anthems and entertained the audience with her lovely voice.

The reason the fund raising event was held is that some of Soroka hospital’s technology is antiquated and needs to be upgraded. They are seeking to greatly improve the equipment and cut man power. New technologies often save time, especially during a war. They are hoping to get a mobile scanner, new emergency equipment and a new neonatal intensive care ward.

Headed by Dr. Ehud Davidson, the General Director, Soroka University Medical Center is the only major medical center for Israel’s entire southern front. The hospital plays a leading role during the ongoing military operations with Gaza, the last, Solid Rock-Protective Edge. Each time the war with Gaza flares up, Soroka steps up to treat the wounded, often while the hospital is under fire itself.

There is a saying among the soldiers who protect Israel, the entire Jewish Nation and indirectly the entire free world: “I carry the entire army on my back and I carry the entire [Jewish] Nation of Israel in my heart.” We heard that after soldiers arrive at Soroka and receive treatment, many ask to return to their unit. This is because camaraderie among the IDF Corps is exceptional, and the IDF is an exceptional military force. The IDF is the army of the people, and it is the people of Israel’s army.

Israel’s hospitals are also exceptional. There are three main hospitals on the front line to save lives during wartime … Ziv in Tzfat, Rambam in Haifa and Soroka in Be’er Sheva.

Since the government will not help expand and meet the needs of Soroka hospital, it is the public’s duty to step up to the plate and help bring Soroka up-to-date technologically and help to expand the hospital, which will be on the front lines again, when the next war with Gaza breaks out.

Jon Voight made an interesting observation, when explaining why Israel is having to fight for its survival. He said “Israel is there to teach us all how to get back to moral structure.”

During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the “Accidental Reporter” felt compelled to become an activist. Being an ‘out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a “one-woman Hasbarah army” for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.