"It's not weird at all to offer it, despite the fact that I never nursed another baby," nurse Yael Cohen told Ynet. "The motherly instinct is what was talking, and it guided me."
Cohen, a nurse at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center who lives in the settlement of Nokdim, told the news site on Wednesday that the four-month-old baby had arrived with her mother at the hospital.
The collision had occurred on Saturday, when the Arab family, which lives in one of Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods, was driving from the Hevron area and collided with a large truck, which totaled their car.
"People don't believe that anyone survived that accident when they see the car," said the father's brother, who asked to remain anonymous. "It was completely crushed - from every direction there was damage and breakage."
The mother, who was seriously injured, was transferred with her two girls, ages six years and four months, to Hadassah Ein Kerem, while the father was taken along with a son to Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
"The two girls arrived for treatment," explained Cohen, who works in the hospital's pediatric surgery ward. "We tried to help them recover. The six-year-old we were able to convince to eat, and we encouraged her with a lot of warmth and smiles. But the baby - who is used to nursing exclusively - refused the bottle, and we had already started preparing her for a liquid nutrition plan."
In the meantime, members of the extended family arrived at the hospital, but they also did not manage to convince the baby to eat. After she saw that the baby would not stop crying, Cohen, who is a mother of two, including a 15-month-old baby, offered to nurse the baby herself.
"She was so hungry," Cohen told Ynet on Wednesday. "I asked the aunt who was taking care of her if she wanted me to nurse - I really wanted to make sure that it was okay with her - and she immediately became excited and thanked me. She already felt helpless and did not know what to do."
"I sat down, I picked her up, I calmed her down and nursed her. Suddenly there was silence. She was quiet, she ate hungrily. The aunt thanked me a lot, and at the end of the shift more family members arrived, who wanted to say thank you. I myself was very emotional - I really understand this situation, I have two girls who refused bottles and only nursed, and it was so clear to me that when you need to nurse, you don't think about anything, just about the baby who is crying from hunger. As a mother, it broke me to see her suffering - hungry, without her mother at her side, and the only thing that can comfort her unavailable."
Cohen added that "it doesn't really matter who the family opposite me is - it had to happen. In my job as a nurse in the pediatric surgical ward in Hadssah Ein Kerem, I don't ask who the family is. I take care of the child and the mother, and embrace them with all the tools and compassion that are possible in difficult situations."
The baby's uncle, who was present during the emotional moments when the baby began nursing, told Ynet: "When we understood that the baby was finally nursing after many hours during which she did not eat or drink and just cried, we wanted to say thank you to this nurse from Hadassah. It's not something that every woman would do, it's not something that's easy to do for a baby who is not yours, and thanks to her the baby ate and calmed down. It saved her after a long time during which she was hungry and did not agree to eat anything else."