Dr. Yoel Hareven, head of Sheba Global, returned from the mission in Ukraine, a special field hospital built by Sheba Medical Center.
“Sheba has been running this field hospital for the last 6 weeks at the request of the State of Israel and the Ukrainian foreign ministry, set in the city of Mostyska which is about 60 kilometers west of Lviv,” he says.
“It’s actually a very quiet western part of Ukraine. From time to time we heard sirens and we ran to the shelter. It was far away from the war zone but full with refugees.”
The Sheba mission has proved vital since Ukrainians are in desperate need of medical help, and this was especially evident to Dr. Hareven from what he witnessed in the field.
“The basic level of medical care, especially primary and secondary medicine, it's very poor in routine times and even poorer during wartime because a lot of physicians were drafted to the army and medical supplies were sent to the front lines so it got even worse,” he says.
The Sheba Medical Center field hospital was set up in Mostyska because it sits on the main road from Lviv toward Poland where refugees are travelling by car and on foot to Poland.
The local population responded very favorably to Sheba’s field hospital.
“The population there knows about Israel, they’ve heard about Israel, some of them we met were even treated in Israel in previous years. They admired Israelis and I even heard one lady that said, ‘We knew deep in our hearts that if someone would come, it probably will be you,’” he explains. “They have big gratitude and support for the State of Israel. They even said that we are feeling much of the same that you feel from time to time when missiles attack you.”
There have been so many heartwarming stories about the patients treated at the Sheba field hospital. One that still sits very fresh in his mind has to do with a seven-month old baby that travelled 72 hours with his mother to get there, including driving, walking, buses and trains.
“He was totally pale. He was suffering from acute anemia and he definitely needed blood. He barley can speak, he barely can cry, he didn't want to eat. We understood that we were talking about hours. We needed to make a rapid decision. At the time we thought that we would give him an auto-transfusion of blood from one of our team members that have O-minus or O-plus blood, but then we consulted with the people at Sheba and they decided that it would be too dangerous to give him fresh blood, especially from an adult. So we made the decision to send him to Poland in an ambulance with one of the team members, and he went to Warsaw. A few days later, we got photos from the mother showing that the baby is alive and vivid. They gave him blood and vitamin B and he came back to life.
”It’s important to note that the Sheba Medical Center in Israel is a big part of what is happening in the field in Ukraine, with the use of virtual and online technologies.
“Through our remote telemedicine hospital called Sheba Beyond we were able to have an open line and streamline directly with Sheba experts with all kinds of expertise 24/7,” Dr. Hareven says. “Some of the tools and some of the equipment will be left at the field hospital for them to continue being in touch with our physicians.”
Sheba’s institutions and activities are supported by Jews around the world, and this includes their unique mission in Ukraine.
“We came as representatives of the State of Israel, then we came as health care providers, as human beings, but most important as Jews,” Dr. Hareven says. “During the last three weeks, from the beginning just getting prepared for the mission and during the mission, I felt and my team felt that the entire Jewish world is behind us. We got emails, phone calls, and messages from all over the Jewish world supporting our mission.”