Israeli doctor helps care for refugees in Ukraine


(NewsNation) — Dr. Adam Lee Goldstein, director of trauma surgery of Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, wishes he didn’t have a job.

He wants to see peace on earth, instead of the destruction that comes from working in a war zone.

But Goldstein fell in love with trauma surgery. Not knowing what to expect and the variety of pain and injuries he faces every day, are a big part of the challenges doctors like him face in the field every day, Goldstein said.

Now, he’s putting his life on the line in Ukraine, helping civilians who the devastating war in Russia has hurt.

“It was a joint decision by my country, by our healthcare system that this is a population in need,” Goldstein said, adding that “everywhere in the world is a spectrum of people who need more help at the moment than others.”

Israel’s state field hospital opened Tuesday afternoon on the grounds of an elementary school in Mostyska, outside Lviv, The Times of Israel reported. The Times said the Israeli mission’s 100 staff members sleep in the school building in dorm-like conditions.

“The policy was made to go and help, and we had the means,” Goldstein said. “Personally, I just want to be where help is needed the most, where I can help the most. It’s what I’ve been trained to do. That’s what the whole team has been trained to do. That’s our day-to-day life. And it’s just an honor to be part of it.”

Doctors working in Ukraine need to be ready for anything, Goldstein said. With air raid sirens going off in the night, everything can change instantly.

In a way, Goldstein says, he’s lucky that’s he’s hard of hearing because that means he doesn’t even usually hear the sirens going off.

“You always have to be over-prepared, and just do your best,” he said. “We have …to take care of each other and just really do what we know how to do and try to give the absolute best care no matter what the situation is.”

The situation can get dire fast. If there’s one person who gets shot, that’s who the medical staff on the ground will take care of. When it’s 5,6,7, or even 15 people who all need some sort of care, that can add to the stress, Goldstein said.

“Part of the job is [determining] who’s more severely ill, who needs surgery, or some sort of treatment faster than someone else, with the idea to save the most lives as we can with whatever resources we have,” he said. “That’s the mentality when we’re in a conflict situation. “

Most of what Goldstein does is take care of the refugee population coming through and dealing with chronic problems. Some people being transferred through where he’s stationed are trying to get through to Poland and other definitive care centers.

“They brought me and a surgical team here to give support to the local hospital for the general surgery support,” Goldstein explained. This can mean giving someone primary care, help with an acute heart attack, psychological support or even a hug.

At the same time, if trauma care is needed, “we’re ready for them, we’ll do whatever we have to do.”

“You just take care of yourself and do your job, and you really concentrate on the patient in front of you,” Goldstein said. “They have a family, people who love them, they have a life, and you want to do everything you can to get that life, keep it going and get it back to normal. So your mind is just [on] whatever’s in front of you. And that’s it.”

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