Etty with the hospital staff
Etty with the hospital staffPhoto: Elly Dadon

Etty Koch (63), who was critically injured in a bus accident in the Carmel tunnels some two and a half months ago, left the Intensive Care unit (ICU) of the Carmel hospital in Haifa for the first time to see the sun.

She had been in an induced coma over the past few weeks, with her life in very real danger.

Koch, a resident of Kiryat Tivon (near Haifa), was on the 101 bus when the terrible accident, in which 23 people were injured, occurred.

"It's almost a record, to give one patient approximately 500 blood transfusions, like we gave Etty in the battle for her life," recounts Dr. Arik Eden, head of the Carmel hospital ICU. "Etty came to us in critical condition after the accident, with her life in immediate danger. She went through a long series of complicated surgeries and procedures with a large contingent of doctors and specialists taking part in her treatment the whole time."

Marina Nichanowitz, head of nursing in the Carmel hospital ICU, has become especially attached to Koch, having received her in the hospital upon her arrival after the accident, and given her constant close and supportive treatment, together with the rest of the nursing staff.

"After a whole difficult month in which Etty was in an induced coma and attached to respiration machines, to see her today sitting up, speaking and smiling is such a wonderful image that gives me and the whole staff the strength to continue with our hard work," Nurse Marina recounted with obvious emotion.

Koch was taken for a little trip outside of the ICU on a special chair for the first time this week, as it was judged to be beneficial for her to breath the clean air and absorb some sun.

In a complex logistical operation involving doctors, nurses, and technicians for the ICU equipment, Koch was able to go out into the area in front of the entrance to the hospital.

"The only thing I remember from the accident is standing next to the driver, hearing him suddenly exclaim 'Wow!', and then just blacking out," Koch recounted, "I was still conscious enough for a time to feel people stepping on me and hear them screaming, and I also felt my hair being pulled.

"A few seconds later I was gone and don't remember anything. Two whole months of my life are just erased from my memory, and I thank God and the angels of the Carmel staff who gave me my life back," she added.

"I'm really happy, and I feel extremely fortunate to have gotten my life back. The treatment I received here in the Carmel hospital is the perfect example of dedication. Every time I made even the smallest move nurses and doctors would immediately come over and take care of me. Their care and dedication is really beyond words."