Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Stay at Ichilov Hospital in Tel-Aviv

We recently had the unfortunate opportunity of having to get to know the Israeli medical system much closer than we might have liked.  I don't say "unfortunate" with any negativity towards the system - we had no complaints about the care that was provided - simply that we would have, of course, preferred not to have faced this type of occurrence.

I'm not going to write about the details of the medical situation that our family member faced.  But I thought I would provide a few points that you might find interesting.

Ichilov Hospital - Dana Children's Center
We spent 8 days getting to know the workings of the Ichilov Hospital in Tel-Aviv - at the Dana Children's Hospital.  Ichilov is Israel's 3rd largest hospital complex.  It incorporates three hospitals with a total area of more than 150,000 square metres.  It also houses a bomb-proof emergency facility, that can supposedly withstand convenential, chemical or biological attacks.  Fortunately, the hospital was not put to a test of these features while we were there.

Certainly, from our experience on this occasion, the care was top notch.  The physicians were knowledgeable and experienced and made use of current technology to provide efficient and professional care. The nurses and attendants were attentive and diligent. We are thankful for this.

I found it interesting that the hospital complex includes a full shopping mall that is connected to the hospital - and located on hospital grounds.  It is also connected to a large outdoor complex.  This means that patients who are able to do so can leave their rooms  and take a stroll through (or be pushed on a wheelchair through) the connected mall or the other grounds.  The mall includes an Aroma Coffee Bar, among other places.  So you see a number of patients, in their hospital gowns, sitting in the Aroma (inside or outside, depending on the weather) with their visitors or wandering around in other parts of the mall.  While many patients would obviously not be well enough to take advantage of this, for others, this can be quite the breath of fresh air.

Ichilov Hospital Complex
A drawback for visitors (and immediate family members of patients) is that the hospital is located right in the middle of Tel-Aviv. The hospital therefore charges full downtown Tel-Aviv parking rates, which can get up to the full $30 daily maximum in no time at all.  Although we live in Ra'anana, we decided to go to Ichilov Hospital in Tel-Aviv, rather than the nearest hospital - which is Meir Hospital in K'far Saba.  This was based on recommendations from first line physicians and others who were reluctant to recommend Meir. 

Our family member was required to stay over a Friday night.  So we had to decide what to do for a Friday night dinner.  Fortunately, two families of close friends insisted on preparing a full Friday night meal for us. They thought of everything - from the grape juice and wine to the Challah, soup, chicken and dessert.  So we took the meal and went to the deserted food court in the mall that adjoins the hospital.  We sat around some food court tables with our ready-to-eat Friday night dinner - and made Kiddush and enjoyed our meal.  It was a strange experience - eating in an empty mall on a Friday night -but we lucky to have such wonderful and considerate friends. 

Things are almost back to normal and everything seems to have gone well.  It is certainly comforting to know that there is very high level medical care near by and that we can count on such supportive and helpful friends and family members. 

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