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Monday, May 19, 2008

For IDF doctors, medicine trumps politics

Pajamas Media has the story of the IDF base at Halamish in Samaria where there's an infirmary to which all of the 'Palestinians' from surrounding villages come for treatment. Many of them are hoping to be transferred to hospitals in Israel where (surprise) the care is a lot better than it is in the local 'Palestinian' hospitals. Here's one story of a kid who is hospitalized in an Israeli rehabilitation facility.

Over cappuccino at a Tel Aviv café, Dr. Eran Poran told me Shadi’s story, which began at the Halamish army base in the West Bank, where he serves as an IDF army physician. “It was December. Raining and cold outside. I got a radio call to come to the gate. Urgently. The guard told me a taxi with a few Palestinians had pulled up and that they were screaming for help. A boy had been hurt.

“So I went with another officer. We got to the gate - we can’t take the chance of letting Palestinians inside the army base for security reasons - and the officer turned pale. I knew it wasn’t good.

“At first glance I saw a kid who looked to be about twelve. He was pasty, unconscious and bleeding from his face. He was clearly in critical condition so I called for an entire team to come help me. We worked on him on the ground right there outside the gate.”

As Poran and fellow army docs and medics administered CPR and stabilized the boy, the cousin who drove the boy to the base relayed details: while home alone in his Ramallah village, Shadi had fallen from the railing-free 3rd floor of his home directly onto his head. The cousin had found him lying on the ground unconscious and brought him to the army base because he had heard there was a doctor and medical facilities on the grounds.

“I decided to radio for a military helicopter and evacuate the child to an Israeli hospital,” Poran continues. “He had clearly suffered brain damage and needed the type of acute care he couldn’t get at Ramallah Hospital. It was a risk - having a helicopter land there outside the gate. There’s vulnerability to sniper fire and attack from surrounding hillsides. We were all at risk working on him out there in the open surrounded by Arab villages. ”

But the Orthodox Jewish physician made a life-saving medical decision based upon professionalism. “Yes, I am religious,” he quietly offers, eyes slightly clouding. “But if I see a wounded 14-year-old boy it doesn’t matter that he’s Palestinian. I don’t ask questions. It was as if he was my own son. You don’t not take care of a kid.”


“We’re the only army base in the country offering this service to surrounding Arab villages,” the M-16 toting young woman says.

This notion elicits a slew of questions. Why on earth would Palestinians opt for an Israeli army base rather than head to the closest Palestinian hospital? Why would Israeli military doctors permit treatment there, presumably endangering an entire base? And hang on just another minute: Isn’t this supposed to be war?

“You would think there would be a stigma attached to coming here,” Halamish base Chief Medical Officer Dr. Itay Wiser replies, shrugging his shoulders. “For villagers we’re closer than Ramallah Hospital. And sometimes, quite frankly, families come here hoping we’ll refer them out to Israel’s hospitals. They know the treatment is better.”

Read it all. Anyone want to contemplate what would happen if - God forbid - we were talking about an Israeli kid and a 'Palestinian' army base? I didn't think so.


At 2:34 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Jewish values are about respect for human life. The enemy doesn't share those values and Jews are not going to abandon them even if the other side doesn't live by them. Jews treat people who hate Jews and save their lives and they do it without even thinking it might be off to let the enemy suffer and die. That's what Arabs to do each other. People need to think how unique Jews are in the entire Middle East - there's nothing like the phenomenon you've recounted, Carl - anywhere else.


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