“I’m very proud of what we have built,” said Charlotte R. Bloomberg at the 2007 dedication of the Mother and Child Center that bears her name. Mrs. Bloomberg passed recently at the age of 102, but her name lives on here at Hadassah.
Reticent and retiring, Mrs. Bloomberg often chose to have her son, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, speak for her as she did after she unveiled the lettering on the side of the building, his gift to her on her 95th birthday. “At 91, Hadassah is almost as old as my mother,” Michael Bloomberg said. “She grew up with Hadassah and has always had a special connection with Israel and with Hadassah.”
Many people – expectant parents, worried families and sick children from throughout Israel and beyond – have benefited from Mrs. Bloomberg’s special connection. Warm, welcoming and child-friendly, the seven floors that soar above the atrium lobby and the two floors below, provide almost every conceivable aspect of maternity and pediatric care.
Currently, services are being expanded on the seventh floor. About a year ago, the Department of Pediatric Cardiology headed by Prof. Azaria Rein, moved into its new offices there – and about six months ago, Dr. Eldad Erez, Director of Congenital Heart Surgery, joined the team. With these two specialists, Hadassah is even better prepared to treat children with heart diseases and conditions, both congenital and acquired.
“I came to Hadassah,” Dr. Erez says, “because I knew that here we would be able to build something and I could contribute the most advanced approach.” Together, he and Prof. Rein diagnose children with heart problems and decide on the best approach to treating them – surgically or medically. He and Prof. Rein also see pregnant women whose doctors think their unborn baby might have a cardiac problem. “Congenital difficulties can be identified early in utero,” Dr. Erez says. “The earlier we know, the better the team can plan when to intervene.”
On the other side of the seventh floor, Hadassah is expanding the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for all children who have undergone surgery, not just cardiology patients, and those with serious and complex conditions. Headed by Dr. Ido Yatsiv, the new eight-bed PICU will be a welcome addition to the eight-bed unit on the fourth floor, which already functions at full capacity every single day of the year, around the clock.
The Seventh Floor PICU will be dedicated primarily to Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, and Pediatric Neurosurgery, another new department, headed by another welcome addition to the staff, Dr. Mony Benifla. The Fourth Floor PICU will handle children with medical problems, multiple traumas, and children from the Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. Located on the fifth floor of the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center, Hadassah’s Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Department is the largest and only medical facility in Jerusalem where children can undergo bone marrow transplantation.
Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Hadassah Director General, remarked, “If you were to walk through the building’s many pediatric departments, you would see the diversity of our patient population, and the love and care all the children receive, the special decorations that brighten their rooms and their days, the classrooms and therapy rooms where they learn and play. In the maternity department, you would see our traditional state-of-the-art delivery rooms and our newer birthing suites, the attention we lavish on the babies in our nurseries and neonatal intensive care unit and the special care women with high-risk pregnancies receive.
The second floor is devoted to the Goldyne Savad Institute for Gene Therapy, the Sidney and Judy Swartz Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center and the Division of Research and Development. This is where ideas are born and nurtured, just like the babies and children on the other floors of the building. And when they mature, many of the ideas that are gestating here will provide a better future for the generations to come.
During her two visits to Hadassah, Charlotte R. Bloomberg was enthusiastic about what she saw and excited about how Hadassah had grown since she first became involved – when she and Hadassah were both quite a bit younger. Although she is no longer with us, the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center will always remind us of her desire “to be part of something that makes this world better.”