Israeli President Reuven Rivlin continued his round of visits to hospitals around the country Sunday in support of the medical teams dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, visiting the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya.
This is the biggest hospital in the area, delivering health services to over 600,000 residents of the Galilee.
The president met with the director of the hospital, Prof. Massad Barhoum, the medical teams from the various corona wards, head of the geriatric ward Dr. Edward Kaykov, ward heads Prof. Nimr Asi and Dr. Ghates Nasser and chief epidemiologist Dr. Yael Ziv, and heard from them about current challenges and the difficulties facing hospitals in the socio-geographic peripheries in dealing with the pandemic.
Prof. Barhoum said to the president, “We work under constant shortages, and corona has clarified the need for medical staff. We are short of at least 60 doctors to staff the wards. We are 20% short of staff. During this wave, we have treated 1195 patients, around the clock.” The team told the president about the shortage of medical equipment, and that the hospital does not have an ECMO machine, requiring them to send patients requiring it to hospitals in the center of the country.
The head of the ventilated corona patients’ unit, Dr. Alex Samochvelov then showed the president the control room which monitors the patients. The president spoke through a protective window with the ward staff who were on duty, and with Shimon Kakon, 57, from Akko, who is married with three children. He was taken to hospital in a severe condition. “I have been here for 12 days. Before I got here in a bad state, I did not understand the severity of this dreadful disease. I read and watched the news, but I didn’t understand. The staff here work like crazy, around the clock, and the country has to give them much more.”
The president then spoke with Nurse Oren Kadosh, who was on duty on the ward, on the other side of protective glass. The nurse spoke about the long shifts and being with patients around the clock.
“You are doing sacred work, and I see how you put your whole hearts into it and thank you for it. Send my thanks to the whole wonderful team with you on this shift, too,” said the president.
“We are marking a whole year of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic,” said the president.
“It is a year in which you have led the fight and the war for human life. You work under difficult conditions with long shifts, in cumbersome protective gear and understaffed. This is a huge physical, mental and emotional strain.”
“You are paying a price, but you don’t give in and continue to fight the good fight for the life of every single patient. For their dignity. In the corona wards and in other wards. You, all of you, are the pandemic fighters, the Guardians of Israel in this difficult time,” said the president.
“Among the patients, as well as among the staff and management, are people of all religions – Jews, Muslims, Druze, Christians and Circassians – a sign of coexistence.”
The president addressed remarks to all Israelis, stressing the importance of the corona vaccine.
“I know that you are tired of the pandemic. You are tired of being told about personal responsibility and how we can all help to eradicate the disease. And yet, you only need to watch the figures. More than 5000 people, loved and dear, have died of corona. And there are many more who are suffering from it and its severe aftereffects. We shouldn’t be afraid of the disease. We can stop it. We can stop this virus. I call on you all from here, from all religions and sectors of society – go and get vaccinated now. Don’t be afraid. The vaccine will protect you and reduce your fears. Don’t forgo this possibility. Take the step to protect yourselves, to protect your loved ones and to protect the lives of us all.”
Director of the Galilee Medical Center Prof. Massad Barhoum called on the public to get vaccinated in Arabic: “I implore you: get the vaccine. This is our only hope. Millions of people have been vaccinated and nothing bad or dangerous has happened to them. I say again – go and get vaccinated. This is our only hope to beat corona.”
He added, “Mr. President, from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of the hearts of 3000 employees of this hospital, I want to say that you coming here today especially from Jerusalem, and despite your crowded schedule, gives us strength, a sense of security and pride that our hard work here in the Galilee is recognized by you and by the Israeli people. Thank you for coming.”
Source: Arutz Sheva