On the need for personal sacrifice during the coronavirus crisis

It was Dickens who said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The virus COVID-19 has permanently changed our lives. While we are living in the shadow of a tragic global health and economic crisis, we are also seeing unprecedented international cooperation to care for the sick and to find a cure. Out of great darkness will come great light.Bnai Zion Medical Center has embraced this challenge head on. Our Corona Department is located on a reinforced floor of the main building. We designed the unit to be separate from the rest of the hospital departments adjacent to a biological sorting ER separated from the main ER. Both facilities are equipped with the best medical equipment and technology, and allow, among other things, surgeries and births in a special ward for corona patients. We ensure that the treatment of patients who do not carry the virus continues at the highest quality and safety while maintaining a high level of service and a sense of family. We continue to develop the hospital and are in the advanced stages of equipping an MRI device, completing the protected ER and inpatient ward, operating the advanced angiography device, completing the construction of the new delivery rooms, installing the new PET/CT device, continuing with the cochlear implant surgical center and post-surgical therapy department, maintaining our rape crisis intervention and therapy center and many more projects.COVID-19 has posed a significant challenge to the health care system. Caring for these patients is complex, labor-intensive and places a strain our medical professionals. This disease is especially dangerous for the elderly and those with high-risk factors, such as diabetes and hypertension. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)AS I write this, we in Israel are dealing with the second wave of the virus. This wave is more severe than the first and the duration is longer than the previous one. More people have contracted the virus, including more young people who need to be hospitalized. We are advancing our treatment methods, giving medications that inhibit and even prevent the deterioration of patients. We have been able to use non-invasive methods to prevent and delay the connection of patients to respirators.Health in my eyes is not just a lack of “disease” but is also a combination of mental, social and economic well-being. The fight against the virus, must include finding the right solutions and balances between all the facets of health.
There is still much we don’t know about this virus and we are forced to make decisions without conclusive evidence. Modern medicine is based on longstanding practices of science proven over time. We find ourselves in a “global war” against an enemy we can see only under a microscope. Today an effective treatment for the virus has not yet been found and the vaccine is still many months away. We are faced with the challenge of maintaining the physical safety and the mental well-being of our medical staff. We continue the logistical and infrastructural efforts to continue to equip the hospital with the necessary medical equipment to care for our patients as well as to adapt our hospital’s infrastructure to the changing needs of our corona patients. Creativity and innovation are the tools we utilize to solve many of the challenges we face so we can respond to the realities that change daily. From a national perspective, dealing with the COVID-19 requires cooperation, help and mutual guarantees from all parties: the political system; decision makers in various government ministries; executive bodies such as the Israel Police and Home Front Command; local authorities; welfare bodies; medical institutions (hospitals and community); and of course the public. Without institutional cooperation we will not be able to defeat the virus. Our goal is to adapt our healthcare system to properly deal with the pandemic while minimizing the health, economic and social damage it carries. While each of our facilities has its own unique agenda and serves its respective community, we must work together to see the big picture. ALL OF this we do, first and foremost, thanks to the hospital’s professional and dedicated staff of doctors, nurses, health professionals and administration. All are committed to the task and make a crucial contribution to its success. They are our dedicated heroes who face the health consequences of the pandemic on a daily basis. This is another opportunity for me to thank and cherish them. They fill my heart with great pride, and I am sure that thanks to them we will succeed in the challenge.I would like to thank again our wonderful friends of the hospital from Israel and all over the world who support and stand by us in this crisis; this is my chance to thank them and call for continued help in every way possible.This COVID-19 crisis will accompany us for many more months. I urge the public to observe the rules of social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands, while avoiding gatherings – especially in enclosed spaces. As in wartime, each of us is being called on to sacrifice for the greater good. Every day we witness the strength of our staff, the sense of community and purpose they have for the patients they serve and the communities they live in. Their dedication inspires all of us to work together to care for everyone as an individual while fighting this disease on behalf of humanity. We will see this through.The writer, a doctor, is the CEO of Bnai Zion Medical Center.

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