The Heart and Soul of Shaare Zedek’s Respiratory Technicians

Ms. Michal Shitrit, the Head Respiratory Technician in Shaare Zedek’s Pulmonary Institute headed by Dr. Ariel Rokach has been working at Shaare Zedek for nearly 30 years. Michal explained that respiratory technicians help people of all ages, from babies born prematurely to the elderly.

When Michal first heard about the coronavirus, how contagious it is and it’s tragic impact on people’s respiratory system she immediately turned to the management of Shaare Zedek as well as the purchasing group and she asked to purchased three times the amount of equipment that the hospital had in stock. She shared, “We also purchased respirators and reached out to trained respiratory technicians who were not working to come and join us…Shaare Zedek’s management recognizes the needs of our unit and provides us with first class medical equipment to best serve the needs of our patients.”

When asked how she felt the first time she put on the protective gear and entered the Keter Department, Michal responded, “I did not feel fear. I have complete confidence that we are messengers and we came to get the job done. We wear full protective gear and we work as a team. The Director General of Shaare Zedek, Prof. Ofer Merin, is in contact daily with the medical staff in the Keter Department and the hospital management is very attentive to the medical team working in the department.”

Michal described her experience with one patient, “He was admitted to the Keter Department with a mild case of the coronavirus. Slowly, he began to have difficulty breathing, he immediately received oxygen. After a few hours, his condition deteriorated further and the respiratory technicians were called …the patient had shortness of breath, he was sweating, every breath was a struggle and he had tears in his eyes from trying to breathe. The staff put on the patient a high flow nasal cannula and within half an hour there was a significant improvement. He had more oxygen. We saw that the patient had more energy, he could stand up, eat and thankfully after a couple of days he tested negative and was released home. Without the team of respiratory technicians, this story could have ended differently.”

Michal explained, “Shaare Zedek’s Pulmonary Institute is headed by Dr. Ariel Rokach, and the Deputy Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Judith Naim, along with 11 respiratory technicians in the Pulmonary Institute. We are a team who work in the various departments, working alongside doctors and nurses, we provide technological solutions throughout the day and night 24/7. We come, at any time, to treat our patients in the most professional manner…

I have faith and believe. I feel a sense of mission for my staff and for the entire medical system in Israel and around the world. Israeli citizens must heed the instructions and have faith in the Ministry of Health and cooperate with all of the different organizations. It’s hard for me to see how this will end, especially when I see such grim predictions, but I look at the day ahead and I do everything I can to succeed and save another life.”

Michal and all of the staff of the Pulmonary Institute, thank you for all of the lives you have helped save and for all of your efforts and caring.

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