web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Healing Under Fire: How Ashkelon’s Barzilay Medical Center Coped with Four Days of Rockets

The Barzilay Medical Center Emergency Room. Some 100 critical patients were moved to secure areas under rocket threat.

The Barzilay Medical Center Emergency Room. Some 100 critical patients were moved to secure areas under rocket threat.
Photo Credit: Yori Yanover / The Jewish Press

Share Button

Soft spoken and friendly, Barzilay Medical Center CEO and Medical Director Dr. Chezy Levy faces extremely unusual professional challenges, born by his facility’s unique location – only a few miles north of the Gaza strip.

“What we’ve experienced in the last four days is another wave of violence in this area,” he recalled one day after a tenuous cease fire between the Islamic Jihad and Israel had gone into effect. A lot of missiles fell here.”

Altogether, the four days of fighting in mid-March, 2012, saw some 200 rockets being launched at Israel’s southern population centers, compared with about 800 rockets over the entire three weeks of operation Cast Lead of late 2008, early 2009.

“Barzilay is the only hospital in the region, and so, in addition to our routine service in every area of medicine, like any ordinary hospital, we also have to be prepared year-round to treat civilians who were wounded by those missiles from the Gaza strip, and treat additional casualties from the military,” said Levy.

He used to be the IDF Surgeon General, and so dealing with emergencies, “unfortunately,” as he frequently puts it, is his bread and butter. “We, doctors, live in Israel with one eye looking at ordinary medical service, and the other eye always ready and alert in anticipation of emergencies. This is, unfortunately, why Israel has such expertise in operating medical facilities in emergency times.”

Barzilay Medical Center CEO and Medical Director Dr. Chezy Levy oversees operations while the rockets from Gaza are flying outside.

Barzilay Medical Center CEO and Medical Director Dr. Chezy Levy oversees operations while the rockets from Gaza are flying outside.

Early on the Sunday following the eruption of the short, but massive conflict, Dr. Levy sent word to his entire staff to forgo all leaves and come in. This was not simple, since schools had been closed as a result of the fighting, and many of his nurses are mothers to school age and smaller children. Nevertheless, he said, they all showed up, because “they are very devoted to the patients and the hospital.”

In my work as local reporter in NY City, I once covered the way Gouverneur Medical Center on the Lower East Side operated during a particularly fierce blizzard. Staff members walked many blocks across town in snow up to their knees, to get to a subway that was still operating, to make it to work. I know first hand this kind of dedication of medical staff. But this one required working under fire and leaving one’s children in someone else’s care while the shells were coming down. Beats a blizzard.

“We had to decide which patients to transfer to our better protected facilities,” Dr. Levy explained what working under fire actually took. “This hospital is quite old and there are some shielded buildings, but most aren’t. Unfortunately, we are well used to this, since we’ve been targeted by missiles, on and off, for more than ten years now. And as time passes, the Gazan missiles are becoming more and more sophisticated, and Ashkelon is now regularly within the range of the shooting.”

He said this had been the fourth time in which the shelling was so bad and ongoing, they had to transfer patients to other, better protected buildings.

“Our choice is to first move those patients who can’t help themselves,” he continued. “So we took, first of all, the premature babies and put them in the shielded area.”

He smiled softly. “You should have seen  them transporting a premature baby in the incubator, while resuscitating it on the way…”

Then they took the newborn babies. Then they moved the pediatric ward, the dialysis patients, and patients receiving ontological treatment.

The very old, geriatric patients who can’t help themselves were transferred outside the region, to facilities up north.

Ashkelon's Barzilay Medical Center meets the challenges of living next door to the Gaza strip, Grad rockets and all.

Ashkelon's Barzilay Medical Center meets the challenges of living next door to the Gaza strip, Grad rockets and all.

“We transferred about 100 patients, or 20% of the patient population, most of them to protected hospital units, some to ambulatory services,” he reported, sighing: “It took four to five hours to move all the critical equipment and to open the new, protected ward.”

Dr. Levy said he and his staff were debating whether or not to transfer the emergency room to the shielded buildings, and in the end decided against it. The alternative location is just not convenient enough for the kind of fast-pace, hectic work that goes on when an ER is taking patients from massive rocket hits.

Share Button

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Healing Under Fire: How Ashkelon’s Barzilay Medical Center Coped with Four Days of Rockets”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Unit 9900 is an intelligence unit that utilizes the unique capabilities of soldiers on the autism spectrum.
Autism in the IDF: Uniquely Talented Soldiers
Latest News Stories
South Florida teen stabbed in high school gym.

Teen stabbed in South Florida high school.

Birkat Cohanim 2014

The Kotel Plaza, the stairs, the Kotel entrance, the roads, everything was packed for Birkat Cohanim – the Priestly Blessing of the People – now imagine if this had been held on top of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount!

Arab road terrorists often use huge boulders to create obstacle courses in the road to slow down drivers -- and then hurl huge rocks at their hapless victims in the hope of murdering them.

Four Israeli citizens were hurt Thursday in a road terror attack near Tekoa in Gush Etzion.

Arab rioters hurl objects at Israeli security personnel who use pepper spray to quell the violence emanating from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.

Israel Police closed access to the Temple Mount to Jews and other non-Muslims on Thursday due to Arab violence.

Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine this week were ordered to “register” themselves and their assets.

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk is on his way back to the region to revive talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Hebron is proving to be a popular family tourist site during the Passover Holiday.

Hundreds attended the funeral of Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrachi, who was slain by terrorists on Passover eve.

A local Jewish merchant was stabbed Monday on the island of Djerba.

The Israeli hi-tech company Matrix has announced it is opening a “massive training center” in Nanjing, China.

Rabbis have been busy with preparations for the traditional Birkat Kohanim, Priestly Blessing, set for Thursday.

The suspect charged in the pre-Passover shooting deaths of three people outside two Kansas Jewish centers is a known white supremacist.

More than 400 people sat down at the first seder this year at the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

PM Binyamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinian Authority incitement for the terrorist murder of a police officer on Passover eve.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/healing-under-fire-how-ashkelons-barzilay-medical-center-coped-with-four-days-of-rockets/2012/03/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: