“Angles in White” were the words Israel’s Minister of Health, Yuli Edelstein, used to describe the dedicated medical team he met at Shamir Medical Centre (Assah Harofeh’s) Coronavirus Unit.
As Israel continues to grapple with a second wave of COVID-19 cases, officials reached out to the hospital for insights and access to the critical work being done on the frontlines.
“Nothing is as effective as seeing it for yourself,” explains Dr. Osnat Levtzion-Korach, Director General of Shamir Medical Centre, who led the minister through a number of departments, including The Emergency Ward, one of Israel’s busiest, due to the large catchment area the hospital serves.
As the number of hospitalized COOVID-19 patients continues to rise, Dr. Levtzion-Korach shares how important the visit was for understanding the challenges faced by frontline workers:
“Even at the first stage of personal protection, it all seems simple. You put on a mask, you wear a gown and you go in. But once you do it yourself, you begin to understand how complex, uncomfortable, and hot it is. We were only walking around the unit, not even treating patients, or washing or lifting them. Only once you’ve experienced it, can you begin to understand how the whole issue of protection is not a trivial matter at all.”
The Minister spent time speaking to patients in the ward, who were relatively younger- in their 40s, 50s and 60s. One patient, a young professional engineer, shared; “I came back from the dead.” He battled the virus for weeks in hospital and thanked the medical team for helping him pull through.
Reflecting on his visit, the Minister shared:
“Today, for the first time, I myself entered the Coronavirus Ward at Shamir Medical Centre- of course, armed with the best protective equipment possible. It was not an easy experience. It felt terribly hot and humid inside the overalls. I only experienced it for one hour of one day. Imagine what the doctors and nurses who work 24/7 in the Corona Wards must feel. Israel’s medical professionals are truly incredible.”