Hadassah Ein Kerem – We Will Always be Grateful


People usually find it easier to send a complaint letter than say thank you when it is proper. For the complaints we have a patients’ representative, who takes care of them (not too many as may be expected from the wide range of activities by thousands of people every day). Thank you letters are sent to the people who are mentioned in them, and to their managers. A sample of them is published, if we receive permission. The following letter was sent to me by Aviva B. She also called me and agreed for me to share her letter with you.

Aviva’s late mother, Barbara Schermer, was president of Hadassah in Minneapolis. She was treated at Hadassah, and as Aviva told me – “they did not know that in the department”.

Here is the letter.

Hadassah Ein Kerem – We will always be grateful

When my 90-year-old mother got a high fever, and she was unable to respond to me, and to her caregiver, her doctor ordered that she be taken to the hospital. I objected, and rather vehemently: why put her into a strange and unfriendly environment when all she needed (I thought) was a dose of antibiotics.

An ambulance arrived and the paramedics agreed with me. They even called my mother’s doctor but again he was vehement: she needed to be in the hospital.

My hospital experiences haven’t been great, and neither have my mother’s. We have been to different hospitals in Jerusalem: they scare my mother, the care she received was often rough and anonymous, her physical needs were neglected –  and her existing dementia always got worse.

But I had recently been hospitalized in the cardiology ward at Hadassah Ein Kerem and despite the rather horrific conditions (four men, four women and only one working toilet) the medical care was extraordinary and most of the nurses were great. So, despite the distance from my house (a good half hour), that’s where she was taken.

Emergency room staff was efficient, explained everything that was happening, and were very kind. My mother could not open her eyes, but after a dose of antibiotics she was able to shake her head or nod when spoken to. She was diagnosed with pneumonia and sent to Internal Medicine B.

The room in which she was placed was terribly overcrowded, and there weren’t enough chairs for even one visitor apiece. But the doctors, the nurses – well, my brothers and I will be forever grateful to the Angels of Mercy who treated my mother. Every two hours, without fail, she was turned, to prevent painful bedsores. She was never ever left with a “dirty diaper”, the room was kept clean, and she was washed every day.

But even more importantly, the doctors – Dr. Gadi L Dr. Avi Abutbul, and a third, young doctor (with kippa), are among the most humane, dedicated and caring members of the medical profession I have ever met. They spend a good deal of time with each patient and his/her family, they always have time to answer questions or explain in detail. And they really seemed to care!

On the second day she was confused and didn’t recognize me, but she was responding to medication and fluids. On the third day she recognized me and knew where she was and I could hold her hand and she could squeeze mine. But suddenly she took a turn for the worse. A lung collapsed, the pneumonia spread and she became almost comatose.

The doctors tried every cure in the books in an attempt to find a cure. She was fitted with oxygen masks that helped her breathe, but she no longer squeezed my hand, or responded with her head when I spoke to her. All the while, the nurses and aides continued to move her, wash her, talk to her and change her clothes, treating her with a dignity and kindness that were incredible to observe.

My brothers and I asked the doctors to do everything possible to restore her health, but we also asked that they carry out my Mother’s wish that she be allowed to pass on peacefully when there was no further hope.”
So when there was nothing left to do, and it was apparent that she would never return even to the sad existence that was her life before the pneumonia, the doctors worked tirelessly to make her comfortable, and see that she never suffer. Our worries and concern became theirs. They comforted us and they cared.

Our mother passed away quietly on March 4th, I think without pain and suffering. For their skills, kindness and care my family will ever be grateful to Hadassah Ein Kerem and the wonderful doctors and nurses of Internal Medicine B.

Aviva B, Bill S, Dan S

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2 Responses to “Hadassah Ein Kerem – We Will Always be Grateful”

  1. 1 Dara Gordon

    To Laura Kaplansky, I was touched by this blog post and continue to be impressed by all your social media efforts. Kudos to HSC- Members, Volunteers and Staff. As always, Dara Gordon

    • 2 Hadassah SC

      Dara, thank you for your lovely words! We’re thrilled that you enjoy the blog… Please let us know if there’s ever an article that you find useful – perhaps we can share it with all!

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