Israel was among the first responders to the crisis in Haiti last week, sending [army] rescue troops and medical personnel from Hadassah and other hospitals within days of the devastating earthquake. Because of Israel’s long experience with bombs and terror attacks, the army and medical community are expert at handling emergency rescue and medical crises.
Hadassah is proud that doctors and operating room nurses from Hadassah Medical Organization are among the personnel that, in short order, set up a tent hospital that includes surgical and medical departments, two operating rooms, an intensive care unit, an emergency room and a maternity ward. Translators accompanied the Israeli contingent to aid doctors. The hospital is set on a soccer field in Port-au-Prince.
After setting up the hospital equipment, the doctors worked the first 36 hours straight, operating on more than 70 patients and treating countless others for infection, first aid, broken bones and more.
Doctor Shir Dar, an OBGYN from Hadassah Ein Kerem, delivered the first baby born at the Israeli field hospital — a joyful sign of life amid so much death and destruction. The grateful mother said she will name her son Israel.
Also working at the field hospital from Hadassah are orthopedic surgeon and anesthesiologist Drs. Taras Shirov, Revital Hivert of the Department of Prosthodontics; and OR nurse Reuven Gelfond from Mt. Scopus.
When the hospital ran out of bone screws needed to treat fractured limbs, the resourceful Nurse Gelfond located a nearby factory and guided them to create the screws from simple nails.
(The author is president of Hadassah Greater Pittsburgh Chapter.)