Dear Friend of Herzog Hospital,
As of this writing, the casualty count is over 700 murdered, over 2500 injured, and at least 100 kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip – an inconceivable number for any event short of an earthquake. Even for a country as inured to terror as is Israel, this is a tragedy of epic proportions, especially considering the size of the country. Almost everyone has a relative or a friend affected by this event.
Here at HERZOG we have moved rapidly onto a war footing. We have routinely received patients from hospitals in the south of Israel whenever there were terror attacks and a large number of injured. The primary role of HERZOG is to function as the referral centre, to free up the intensive care beds for the hospitals in the front-lines in the south. This is of critical importance because as the waves of casualties reach the front-line hospitals, the intensive care beds fill up rapidly.
HERZOG is designated as the primary destination for respiratory care patients from these hospitals and up to 72 patients together with the staff from the referring hospitals can be absorbed, and this even without the underground hospital. In addition, the underground hospital represents the largest single reserve of beds in the greater Jerusalem area, 160 in total. Overnight the underground hospital, recently cleared of the Covid patients, was prepared for all eventualities. It can be used for the overflow of patients referred to the hospital or, in the case of another missile attack on the hospital itself, can take the patients and staff to shelter them.
HERZOG’s Metiv Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma is also playing a leading role in providing trauma counselling to help so many families coping with unimaginable personal horrors. And just recently, HERZOG was chosen by the Ministry of Defence to become the treatment centre for Jerusalem and the central region, for all things pertaining to mental health and especially for psychotrauma. Needless to say, that will now take on a new dimension, as not only the former members of the defence forces will require care for trauma from their service (in some cases dating as far back as the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago) but now a massive demand will come also from the civilian population traumatized by these events.
War seems to bring out the best in our population and we are cheered by the large number of volunteers who have come to help. This is critical for the working of the hospital, as we are very short of staff. This is due, on the one hand, to the large number of patients referred to the hospital, literally overnight, overextending the existing staff.
On the other hand, we have acute staff shortages, as many staff members have been mobilized and others can’t get through or are needed to stay at home because of children and other responsibilities with husbands called up.
We are, unfortunately, just at the beginning and as mentioned we have no way of knowing where we are going over the next few days and weeks. But one thing is certain:the HERZOG MEDICAL CENTRE is here to do its bit for the good of the country and population in these very trying times.
As noted above, there is hardly anyone in Israel who has not been affected, whether directly, or through a family member or friend. Following is the account of the brother-in-law of Dr. Jacob Haviv, HERZOG’s Director-General and CEO. You may have seen this story yesterday on CNN.
Two short days ago, on Simchat Torah, Dr. Haviv’s brother-in-law was trapped in a shelter for 20 hours, along with his wife and two young daughters.
The family lives on a kibbutz by the name of Kisofim, located very near to the border. When the first bombs struck, they immediately gathered in the secured shelter of their house. Terrified even to speak, they communicated only by text messages, and thus were able to convey news of their situation to Dr. Haviv and his wife. However, after a brief time, even this means of communication became impossible.
Why were they afraid to speak? Because THE TERRORISTS WERE IN THE HOUSE – trying to smash through the door of the shelter. For some unknown reason, the terrorists did not employ RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), as they did with the five neighbouring families – ALL OF WHOM WERE MURDERED.
Fifteen hours passed before Dr. Haviv and his wife were finally able to learn that the family was safe. The terrorists had gone through the village, systematically breaking into houses and shelters – but, miraculously, were unable to penetrate the home and the safety of Dr. Haviv’s wife’s brother and his family.
This was indeed a miracle, and we thank G-d, and are so grateful for their safety!
At this time that is so critical for our beloved Israel, we ask for your help, so that HERZOG may continue its vital work in caring for, and treating, so many who have suffered so greatly from this base and cowardly onslaught of terror.
Please help us to help Herzog continue its vital work
during this critical time.