MDA’s heroes from the horse’s mouth

  • MDA at Gaza Crossing - HOME
Read the emotional report by URI SHAHAM, the bureau chief (and himself a paramedic) of MDA's Director General the Paramedic who was touring the area near the scene of the first Israeli fatality at Erez Crossing. Shamam tells of trying to save the life of the civilian casualty after the young man was critically injured delivering food to the soldiers. MDA REALLY NEEDS SA JEWRY’s HELP – read what you can do…
by URI SHAHAM & ANT KATZ | Jul 17, 2014

The saddest story of one they couldn’t save!

The MDA leadership, who were minutes away, arrived immediately and began treating the patient.  As the medical treatment was provided, and rockets flew over their heads- the teams continued treating and doing their best to save the man's life. Unfortunately, the patient passed away in the hospital. The paramedic on scene shared the story with us.

"As I try to save his life, I see that he is my age. Likely he also has a family…has children… I continue to try and save his life even as mortars fall and explode around us…"

Uri Shaham, the bureau chief of MDA's Director General, was the first to arrive on the scene and treat the first casualty of operation Protective Edge, on the border of the Gaza Strip. On Tuesday July 15, the eighth day of the operation, the Director General of Magen David Adom, accompanied by his head of department, the district director of Israel's south, and his deputy, went down on a routine inspection of the MDA stations in the south.


Not like any other day

Like any other day since the beginning of the operation. "You drive along the road and grow accustomed to the sirens blaring from any directions and at any time. There are areas where you drive and there are no sirens. But that is just because you are so close to the border that there often is not enough time for the siren to go off before the projectile hits. All you hear is the explosion on impact. We were driving along a road running parallel to the Northern section of Gaza's border, when we heard and felt an explosion very close to us.

Mda Gaza crossingAfter a couple of moments we saw the approximate location of the blast and sped over to it.

RIGHT: failed attempt to save a life

As we travelled I called the MDA dispatch of Lachish region, who had already been notified of two casualties; one critically injured and the other with minor injuries. We requested two intensive care ambulances as well as a regular ambulance in order to handle a potentially large number of casualties. When we arrived we found a young man with no pulse and was not breathing, who had been hit by shrapnel of the exploded mortar shell.

One of the things that guides us through everything, is that before all else, our job is to save lives. First and foremost we give help and first aid, and only after this do we administrate the organisation.

We immediately took out the resuscitation equipment bag from our vehicle and went to aid the military medical team already on site that had quickly arrived to the scene. As I tried to save his life, I saw that he is my age. Likely he too has a family and children. I continued to try and save his life even as mortars fall and explode around us".

The injured man was evacuated in critical condition to Barzelai Hospital in Ashkelon via an intensive care ambulance from the Lachish Region. There he was pronounced dead.


Who was the young man?

"Afterwards we found out about who we had treated and his story. We learned that he was a young man who had travelled to the border to hand out packages of food and other gifts to soldiers who were stationed around the northern section of the border. One of the thousands of citizens from the centre of the country who had come to help those living in the south."

 After finishing treating the victims, the administrators continued on their inspection tour of the stations in the south, which had already been working for a full week under fire at constant readiness twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

"It is very difficult to describe what we see when we visit the MDA stations. We are looking at workers and volunteers who are caring and professional in an unbelievable way, who are working around the clock without cease to save lives.
Volunteers and workers who leave their homes, put on protective gear and travel to the stations to save a life, to aid an elderly person who had fallen on her way down to the bomb shelter, and every time they go out they risk their lives. We are not talking about trivial work, time and again I see these volunteers and workers risking everything and running into fire in order to save the lives of elderly and young people, women and children.
Only after they have finished saving the lives of others do they call home to make sure that everything is oay in their house, their spouses, their children and their parents…. How many people would first run to save the lives of others before checking to make sure everything is okay in their own home?


MDA needs our help right now

Yonatan (Yonnie) Yagodovsky is the director for international relations at MDA and granted SAJR ONLINE a one hour interview on Wednesday morning. Watch out for his compelling tale of how MDA is saving lives in Israel daily, how SA contributions are helping (as always) and about a day in the life of MDA staff and volunteers right now.

“Donations from SA are immediately connected to a patient currently receiving treatment in Israel – meaning that the donor becomes an active person who is now involved in treating patients and victims – no matter the size the size of the donation.” Says Yonnie.


Click-athon campaign will help save lives

clickathon-square-ad final newSAJR Online is running a CLICK-ATHON campaign in cooperation with MDA which users can see on every page on the website. MDA, which is an NGO and runs all medical emergency services in Israel including first reposes and ambulance services, are saving countless lives daily – but at an additional cost to them of almost R1 mil a day!

“SA provides 5,25 per cent of MDA Israel’s total income,” says Yonnie. “I grew up and live in Jerusalem where the MDA station was built by our friends and donors from SA in 1968 and maintained by MDA-SA for many years. We continue to receive significant support from Jewish and Christian Donors in SA – extremely meaningful support,” he told Jewish Report yesterday. “SA has been one of the most senior MDA societies for the past 68 years – we have a long history together  - you are one of our most successful communities!”

“It means a lot to us,“ said Yonnie. “Thank you for being with us in daily routine life and especially in times like this – your contributions are way beyond fiscal. We feel, no, we know that you are standing beside us – not behind us!”

Click here for the MDA/SAJR CLICK-ATHON and give whatever you can – big or small – even if you are a regular donor, every extra bit helps, says MDA SA Chairman Mark Hyman.

“We need SA friends more than ever”  - MDA

About Uri Shaham

On a personal note, Uri lives in the north in a place where at first they were not expecting to hear sirens. "My wife is taking care for over a week for 3 kids of which the oldest is six. In addition to the difficult task of looking after three children there's also the worry and the longing to see her husband regarding what's going on at the moment in the south on the one hand and what is going on in the north on the other."

On the third day of the operation the first sirens were heard throughout the country from the south to the far north even near the house of Uri. "It's not easy to be on the other side of the country when sirens are being heard everywhere. I find myself in continuous worry for our citizens, volunteers and workers and unfortunately my own family that has found itself near to the location of the sirens when their father is on the other side of the country and cannot get to them quickly to help them and calm them down."

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