Friday, July 31, 2015

31-Jul-15: First do no harm

Sieff Hospital in Tzefat, Israel: In which direction did the critically injured person on the
gurney face when he last prayed? No one asks, no one cares...
The statement in the title of this post is an element of the training given to doctors and expresses one of humanity's core ethical values. With savagery of a kind most of us have never seen and can scarcely believe is going on just across our country's border, humanity and values are on the minds of many of the people among whom we live.

Comprehending the question posed in the following para (from this recent article on the website) and the incredible real-world scenarios that surround it, a person can become either bamboozled (assuming they know only what most of the mainstream media tells them about our side and the other side in this ongoing war) or deeply moved:
How do you check the military credentials of an unconscious, unaccompanied, malnourished teenage boy in plastic sandals and blood-soaked trousers as he bleeds out on a dusty hill? More tellingly, among the doctors stitching such boys together again, it's not clear whether that even matters. ["Inside the Hospital Where Israeli Doctors Treat Syrian Patients", VICE, July 25, 2015]
It's a great article. Please click the link and read it all right through to the end. (Our own earlier visits to what is happening up north in Tzefat are here and here.)

Visiting a hospital - any hospital - in any part of Israel, and especially the paediatric departments, is likely to lead to a degree of cognitive dissonance among people who haven't yet fully understood what makes Israeli society tick. When reporters and journalists interview us, as hundreds have over the years, we usually invite them to make such a visit together with us (unfortunately we have deep first-person familiarity with the terrain).

Only one of them, in all these years, has ever taken us up on the offer.

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