Hadassah Nurse Ruven Gelfond is in charge of the operating theater in the Israeli Mission to the Philippines. They have seen some 1500 patients since arriving.

“I was awakened in my tent today at 5 AM with an emergency Caesarian section. The woman was in dire condition, and we managed to deliver a beautiful baby boy. Mother and child are well.”

This is typical for our work here. Much of it isn’t just a result of the typhoon–although there are still trauma patients who were injured in the storm. The presence of a modern medical team in an area that is removed from 21st century medicine. The logistics are all more difficult because of storm damage.

Take for instance the young woman who had an ectopic pregnancy. She was hemorrhaging. Getting to the nearest hospital would take hours. It was a matter of life and death. Thankfully, we were there to save her. Patients line up to see us. Many are just glad to have doctors and nurses to consult. We have done a lot of eye surgery. With the tools we have put together and those we have brought, we’re able to give sight to the blind. That’s empowering.

We learned a lot from Haiti. Having gone through a similar situation, we were better able to prepare.

Even from a personal point of view. I’m sleeping in a tent. The heat is intense. I’m from Soviet Georgia, but I’ve gotten used to heat and field conditions. We have tremendous motivation to help. It’s a wonderful feeling to It’s a joy to be part of a team that takes leadership.

I knew in Haiti that sterilization was critical. You haven’t accomplished anything if you do surgery and the patient dies of infection. We brought everything necessary. I demand the level that we have at Hadassah Mount Scopus.

I was on vacation at the Dead Sea when I received the phone call. I had an hour to show up for the delegation. That’s the way it was for most of us. We’re ready to drop everything to serve our country and to help those in need. That’s who we are.

We had a full day of surgery today–every kind you can imagine. We’re a non-stop operation.

Excuse me…I have to go. Another emergency C-section. A day that started with new life and ends with new life. Women and children who might have died without us. What can you compare to that?

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