Wartime Appeal from the Sheba Medical Center
The Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer has now treated over 100 Israel Defense Forces soldiers who were wounded on the battlefields in Gaza. Fifty soldiers are still hospitalized at Sheba, half of whom have moved from our acute care hospital into our rehabilitation hospital.
We are expecting the influx of many additional soldiers for rehabilitation, from other hospitals around the country.
Among the wounds are a significant number of complicated hand injuries. Our orthopedic hand surgeons, led by our world-famous hand surgeon Dr. Batya Yaffe, have performed multiple sophisticated surgeries, involving delicate vascular and muscle reconstructions.
We are in urgent and concrete need of a number of expensive pieces of equipment to facilitate these complicated reconstructive hand surgeries.
I am appealing to Sheba Friends around the world for immediate assistance in purchasing the following items:
· Advanced surgical microscope for hand microsurgery: $350,000
· Dopler device for micro-vascular (tiny blood vessel) monitoring: $80,000
· Specialized surgical equipment: $40,000
· Coupler/Dopler device for vascular monitoring: $10,000, plus $500 in disposables for each operation
As I write these lines, Sheba is grieving for all the fallen soldiers, including one of our own, Cpl. Omi Chai, the 21-year-old son of our doctors Dr. Ilan and Dr. Orit Chai (who are, respectively, heart and eye physicians at Sheba). We also pray for the healthy and speedy return of more than 100 Sheba physicians who were called into the army on reserve duty and are currently on the battlefront in Gaza.
This past Friday night, we hosted a Shabbat dinner for more than 200 people – wounded soldiers and their families – in our central lobby. The special dinner was prepared by four of Israel's celebrity chefs, and included prayer and song for the welfare of Israeli troops. The spirit of togetherness and solidarity was overwhelming!
Please know that State of Israel is strong; that the People of Israel are resolute; and that the Sheba Medical Center is there to back-up our brave soldiers and their families in times of need. Please support us in our work.
Prof. Zeev Rotstein
Shabbat dinner for more than 200 people – wounded soldiers and their families
Leading special Shabbat prayers for IDF soldiers
Sheba CEO Prof. Zeev Rotstein (center) and Defense Minister Moshe 'Bogi' Yaalon visit a soldier with complicated hand injuries
As wounded Israeli troops return home, military censorship is harder to enforce
By Ruth Eglash, The Washington Post, July 27, 2014
RAMAT GAN, Israel — The Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv is on a war footing. In the 10 days since Israel started its ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the hospital has received more than 50 soldiers with wide-ranging combat injuries.
As wounded soldiers return from the front line, however, the army is facing a new challenge: how to stop the troops — who are surrounded by medical staff, volunteers, friends and family — from sharing strategic information from their battles.
Add into the mix a digital element — soldiers reuniting with their smartphones and everyone around them constantly plugged in to multiple social-media platforms — and controlling the flow of sensitive information in this escalating conflict becomes more difficult than ever.
On Sunday, the rehabilitation department in Sheba was buzzing with activity. Volunteers delivered treats and snacks to the wounded, family and friends hovered around the young soldiers, and international journalists showed up to hear troops’ stories of battling Hamas militants in the coastal enclave.
“We went into a house. There was an explosion; it was booby-trapped, and parts of the house fell on top of me,” said Elnatan Mor, in a wheelchair flanked by his parents and the object of sudden media attention.
Within seconds, an army spokeswoman standing nearby dashed to his side, her cellphone next to her ear. She advised Mor against speaking to the media, explaining to reporters that military censors had deemed the experiences of his unit too sensitive to share.
But even as Mor’s parents wheeled him back to his room to recuperate, others in the hospital who have been caring for the soldiers were more than willing to share the war stories they had heard.
“Some have told us about booby-trapped donkeys exploding and about Hamas fighters shooting from behind women. The soldiers are hesitant to respond when that happens, and that is when they get shot,” said Zeev Rotstein, chief executive of the medical center. He also said he could tell from the soldiers’ injuries that they had faced many shells and explosives during the daily battles.
Such war stories also are backed up by information leaked on social media. The army has clear guidelines for soldiers in certain combat units about their activities on social media, but those who work in support positions and do not deal much with sensitive information face less stringent rules about posting online.
On July 20, for example, hours after Israeli forces entered the Gaza City neighborhood of Shijaiyah, word began to emerge that an explosive device detonated by militants hit an armored personnel carrier, which had a large number of soldiers inside.
A little later, messages began appearing on the texting platform WhatsApp listing the names of the dead soldiers. Some of the names were incorrect, however, causing deep anguish for some families who immediately assumed their sons were dead. Three days later, Israeli military police announced that they had arrested three soldiers and a civilian for leaking information about the incident.
“There is no question that we are facing a new challenge,” said Capt. Eytan Buchman, an Israeli military spokesman. “Things have changed profoundly since 2006, when Israel experienced its last operation with such a large number of casualties. I am sure this is something that the military will need to address after this operation.”
“It’s a big challenge because everyone is online and has smartphones, and it’s so easy to communicate,” said former Israeli military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich, who helped found the army’s interactive-media branch.“The army does understand that it needs to deal with this.”
In the meantime, Leibovich said the army’s other challenge was defending its actions in the field and standing up to the “other side” in its battle for public opinion online.
“It is interesting to see that the other side is putting more money, time and effort than ever before into its social media. We have not seen this in the past,” she said.
Ruth Eglash is a correspondent for The Washington Post based Jerusalem. She was formerly a reporter and senior editor at the Jerusalem Post and freelanced for international media.
A Wartime Update from the Sheba Medical Center
More than 25 Israel Defense Forces soldiers, wounded on the battlefields in Gaza, are currently hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center. Soldiers with the most severe injuries (head, brain, eyes, internal organs, fractures, and burns) were airlifted directly from the combat zones to the hospital.
Our surgeons have been working around the clock.
Among the injured is a true war hero: Lt. Col. Roi Levy, commander of the Golani Brigade’s elite reconnaissance unit – the highest-ranking officer injured in the course of “Operation Protection Edge” against Hamas.
Roi is being cared for in our ultra-modern neurosurgery intensive care unit. (The unit was inaugurated just a few months ago, as was our new burns department). Our best doctors are constantly at Roi’s side, as well as his wife Naomi and three young daughters (ages 11, 6 and 3). His prognosis is good.
Several beds over lies Roi’s platoon-mate, Cpl. Shai Ganon, whose family and friends celebrated Shai’s twentieth birthday at his bedside, with many TV cameras looking on.
Another unique patient, who has just been released from the hospital, was paratrooper Cpl. Moshe Hirt, a lone soldier from the United States. Moshe was admitted to our orthopedics department with multiple fractures. His parents were unable to be at his bedside because of the halt in flights from the US. (That flight ban has now has been rescinded).
Well-wishers bearing gifts for soldiers fill Sheba's corridors
As the national hospital of Israel and the main rehabilitation center for IDF soldiers, Sheba has been in the news quite a bit all week long. (You can read some of the Hebrew press articles here, here and here).
The hospital also has been visited this week by by government ministers Shai Piron (education), Naftali Bennett (economy) and Yitzhak Aharonovich (internal security); and IDF Generals Noam Tibon, Yoav Galant and Orna Barbivay.
Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich (center) and police brass, along with Sheba CEO Prof. Zeev Rotstein (at right), visit a wounded Golani soldier.
But Cpl. Hirt was never truly alone. Dozens of volunteers and well-wishers, including many youth groups, visited him at all times of the day, bearing gifts and flowers.
In fact, the hospital has been so flooded with well-wishers, most of whom have no direct family relation to the injured soldiers that we had to post ushers in some departments to manage the flow of visitors and ensure that patients could get some rest!
General Barbivay, head of the IDF Manpower Division, said that “all the families of injured soldiers that I met expressed overwhelming gratitude for the professional and loving care their sons are receiving here at Sheba. They say that Sheba doctors and nurses are true angels of mercy.”
Ramat Gan Mayor Yisrael Singer (center) and Scouts from Ramat Gan visiting a wounded soldier, along with Prof. Zeev Rotstein
Over 50 Sheba doctors have been called up for reserve duty in the army, leaving some holes in our regular professional complement. Everybody else is pitching with extra hours to make up the shortfalls.
This is the Sheba spirit; this is the Israeli spirit. We are one family, and we are in this war together, united in purpose!
Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef offers blessings for a speedy recovery to a soldier from an elite IDF unit
The hospital administration has received many messages of support and solidarity from friends around the world over the past 14 days. Each and every such message is appreciated, even if we cannot respond to them all directly. Keep these messages coming!
Please know that State of Israel is strong; that the People of Israel are resolute; and that the Sheba Medical Center is there to back-up our brave soldiers and their families in times of need. We shall overcome.
Prof. Zeev Rotstein