As you are likely aware, this week has been a particularly trying one for the Israeli healthcare system in general and the Jerusalem medical community in particular.
As a result of a series of events which have been building up over time, the Hadassah Medical Organization’s financial stability has become increasingly challenged. This has led to several work stoppages by various unions on the Hadassah campuses and significantly limited the scope of medical activities in their two hospitals over the past several days.
From the outset, I would like to reiterate a message that I have stated on numerous occasions, both privately and in the national media. Shaare Zedek is committed in every way possible to seeing Hadassah emerge from this crisis as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Jerusalem cannot survive as a major metropolitan city without a fully functioning medical infrastructure. Moreover, it is difficult to witness these unfortunate developments which are affecting thousands of dedicated healthcare workers, many of whom are our close friends and colleagues.
There is no denying that this crisis has also put a strain on Shaare Zedek’s resources as the result of a steep increase in patient activity. Most notably, our three emergency departments (general, pediatric and gynecological) have seen an overall increase of 25 percent in cases over the past two days. In coordination with hospital administration and department heads, we have increased staffing in the relevant areas and I have assured the public that patient care needs are being fully addressed without compromise. Other departments are taking appropriate measures and I can even happily report that in one 24 hour period this week no fewer than 81 babies were born at Shaare Zedek. Our ability to accommodate this increase in births makes us all the more grateful for our good fortune at having opened just three weeks ago our new maternity department in the Next Generation Building. Our accomplishments during this recent period have been widely recognized by the national media who have credited Shaare Zedek’s actions and saluted our irreplaceable role for the health of the city.
I would therefore use this occasion to sincerely thank the staff of Shaare Zedek who have risen above and beyond the call of duty in this time of crisis. As I wrote in an email to the staff this morning, it is only through their dedication that our commitment to the best possible medical care has not wavered in any way. This is of course a tradition of caring that has not changed in more than 112 years and has elevated the Shaare Zedek name in times both good and bad.
In conclusion, it is most befitting at this time to thank you, the friends and supporters of Shaare Zedek, who have given us the strength and resources to grow, thrive, and meet the many challenges presented to us. Your confidence and appreciation for the vision of our hospital have been instrumental in allowing us to continue to exhibit fiscal responsibility and operational practices which have firmly positioned us as an Israeli medical leader, and which will no doubt prepare us for the future.
Despite this crisis, I am hopeful and confident that Jerusalem and Israel will emerge with an even stronger and better healthcare infrastructure and we will all take pride in having played a major role in that process.
Wishing you and your families all the best for a Shabbat Shalom.
Jonathan Halevy, MD