Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Barzilai Medical Center of Ashkelon, Israel
Nadene Goldfoot
Ashkelon is Portland, Oregon's sister city and the Barzilai Hospital there has been close to being hit several times.  It's Israel's front line hospital on the Gaza border.  They take in patients that are Jewish and Muslim, terrorists and whoever manages to get there in need. That's what all the hospitals in Israel do.   The hospital services 502 square miles.  The residents in this area are 500,000.  It has 500 beds and a level 2 trauma center.  It's Israel's foremost center for trauma care and nurse training. 

The hospital has been treating many patients, especially since 2006 with all the missile attacks since then.  They continue to be able to deliver the best medical treatment to all injured soldiers and civilians and also  provides  professional expertise, compassion and care.  They do need our help all the time as the world economy has almost stopped the flow of monetary assistance from around the world.  World-wide propaganda against Israel hasn't helped, either. 

The Israelis have suffered a great deal in the Gaza border area of southern Israel.  In 2006 there were 1600 Kassam missile attacks.  The hospital had 1400 patients with acute and post traumatic stress disorders and diseases then.  Each year they treat 100,000 emergencies. 

They have had a 150% constant occupancy each year.  Their cafeteria is regularly converted into hospital bed spaces.  That's not surprising.  When I was in the hospital in Haifa in 1981, (I had fallen and crushed my elbow) I was out in the hallway naked with an IV dripping down my arm.  It was that full.  It was Haifa's army hospital.  Luckily later I was moved into a large ward full of women.  It was 6 weeks later when we had the Lebanon war and I couldn't even see my doctor then to talk about taking out the screws from my arm as they were going to be extremely busy. 

Ashkelon is one of the oldest cities in the world.  They go back 4,000 years.  In 1955 the modern city was founded by South African Jews when their town of Afridar merged with Migdal, a former Arab town.  Their national park has Greek and Roman ruins and the remains of ancient synagogues.  There is also a Roman tomb decorated with frescoes, the ruins of a Byzantine church and a wall built by Crusaders in the city.  They have a population of about 120,000. 

Ashkelon is also distinguished by having the world's largest water desalination plant.  Baltimore, Maryland is also another sister city with Ashkelon. 

My personal experience
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