Sci-Tech Israel Under the Microscope: Galilee Medical Center
By Sammie Kapushy
Galilee Medical Center has treated more than 1600 victims since the beginning of the Syrian War in 2011.
Galilee Medical Center is the largest government hospital in the Galilee region of Israel. It has 69 departments and specialty units, with 700 registered beds and a staff of 2,200 and 300 volunteers, making it the largest employer in the region. It is the frontline treatment center for Israel ‘s northern border with Lebanon, and serves a demographically mixed population of 600,000 that comprises the Galilee ͛s mosaic of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Druze. Besides providing civilian care, the hospital is a treatment center for the Israel Defense Forces. The hospital’s motto is “Adam L’Adam-Adam,” which means that once they enter the hospital all patients are treated equally regardless of religion or ethnicity.
Funded over 60 years ago, the hospital is constantly growing and developing, with priorities determined by population growth as well as the need to provide emergency medical services to isolated communities. Recently the hospital has seen the completion of the fully protected Emergency Department, a new MRI unit, the Oncology Outpatient Clinic, and is in the process of building a new Women͛s Health Wing including an In-Vitro Fertilization Unit. Since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, the Galilee Medical Center has treated more than 1600 victims of this ongoing civil carnage, making it one of the leading institutions in Israel experienced in treating complex war injuries.
Materials and methods
The introductory presentation on the hospital gave important information that was previously unknown to myself and my peers. We learned about the basic hospital information and then moved on to discuss the process in which casualties are brought to the hospital, and specific stories of a few casualties. We learned that the average stay of a Syrian casualty is approximately 23 days with usually 12-15 surgeries and costs three times as much as an Israeli patient. We were later given a tour of the cardiology department and the hematology lab areas.
David Azoulay, PhD, a member of the Hematology Lab from Routine Life-saving Diagnostic Work to Research for New Diagnostic Tools, shared with us his research on the blood and bone marrow aspirated to help correctly diagnosis or rule out a type of acute leukemia through basic testing and flow cytometry.
An electrophysiologist, Dr. Eli Klafon, presented some of his work on patients and taught us about heart attacks, pacemakers, defibrillators, basic heart anatomy and electrical impulse mapping of the heart. He played a number of videos so we could see some parts of a surgery and discussed the medical procedures.
Before today’s experience, I had believed that we would be touring a hospital that was doing at least semi-important work in the field of medicine.
That belief has changed immensely do to the fact that the Galilee Medical Center does incredible, lifesaving research, has an extremely dedicated staff, and works to help Israelis and casualties of war with an equal level of care and kindness. My view of just seeing a hospital changed into seeing an important part of the Israeli’s involvement with the Syrian war, which many people know little about.
My peers also found this experience meaningful.
Adam Rozen – This experience showed me that a lot of people require medical attention. I think it’s great that the hospital helps everyone, even their enemies.
Jason Walter – The hospital was a great introduction to the medical field. It gave me hope about Syrian casualties and Israel’s involvement. I also enjoyed the interesting heart surgery videos.
Saryn Taylor – It was nice to see that everyone wants to help others, even though their nations may be conflicting.
Josephine Berler – I thought that the surgery videos were fascinating. The hospital is doing amazing work with Syrian casualties and inspiring everyone. The staff treats everyone as humans, putting religion, race, and political differences aside.
Zev Carlyle – It was a really cool experience. I liked how they were all about coexistence, and the doctors saved lives of even those who hate Israel.
This hospital showed me that Israeli’s are kind and talented people who can separate politics and religion from doing their life-saving work. They go even further by doing this work without media attention in order to protect the privacy and security of the Syrian casualties.
This hospital is important to the Jewish community because it shows the true spirit of Israelis and Jews, despite the media not truly knowing the great acts this hospital commits.
Visiting the Western Galilee Hospital raised some interesting questions for me.
Do the staff ever have trouble giving medical care to casualties of war who they believe to be the enemy?
What is the extent of the economic burden that is put on the hospital by treating so many casualties of war?
Does the religion of a patient or medical professional ever heavily impact how medical care is given or received?
What happens if a patient is a known criminal or terrorist? What happens after they are treated in the hospital?
When I return hope, I hope to incorporate this knowledge into my youth group’s year long project of helping refugees who resettle in my community. We can have in depth discussions about not only those who are seeking refuge in other countries, but also about those who are determined to stay in their country despite the risks.