Mark Addleman

17 January 2024

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The city’s maternity wards are busier than ever due to thousands of parents that were evacuated from the north and south. Jerusalem is the most populous, diverse, and multifaceted city in Israel, with large populations of religious Jews and Muslims who tend to have large families.


So it’s no wonder that the city’s maternity wards are the busiest in Israel. But 2023 has broken records for births in Israel’s capital city. Both Shaare Zedek and Hadassah Medical Centre say that a major reason for the increase is that about 12,000 evacuees from Israel’s southwest and far north have been sheltering in 50 hotels in the Jerusalem area since the war began on October 7. During that same period, each of these medical centres also has treated more than 400 soldiers and civilians injured in the war.


At Hadassah’s Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus hospitals, about 17,000 babies were born in 2023 — an all-time hospital record and a 12% increase over 2022. in December, 1,430 births occurred at Hadassah. Among the new arrivals were 306 pairs of twins and five sets of triplets, said Dr. David Shveiky, chief of OB/GYN at Hadassah.


“At the end of the year we experienced a challenging security period, as we took in many mothers who were evacuated from their homes, and also faced challenges in protecting the wards in compliance with the directives of the Home Front Command,” said Shveiky.


Shortly after midnight on January 1, Liat and Federico Mena welcomed Hadassah’s first baby of 2024, at the Mount Scopus campus. The Menas, residents of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha near the Gaza border, are refugees in Jerusalem. Liat spent the last trimester of her pregnancy away from home, caring for her two small children alone as her husband was serving in the reserves.


“It was a stressful time,” she said. “When our son was born, I expressed a liberating cry of happiness. After the birth, there is a feeling of victory and hope that we will return to build our home in the kibbutz. We wish for the new year that the people of Israel will continue to bring redemption to the world with the birth of sweet babies.”


Editor’s notes


In these challenges times, Hadassah is a beacon of hope and integral to the infrastructure of Jerusalem, as Israel’s largest city tries to cope with an influx of about 12,000 evacuees. Hadassah UK is supporting the New Gandel Rehabilitation centre which has partially opened this month and is taking in 12 orthopaedic patients while the rest of the building is undergoing construction.


Since the war started, Israel is facing a dramatic surge in the demand for immediate care and rehabilitation which can go on for months, especially for serious cases like traumatic brain injuries, shrapnel damage, and severe limb and vascular injuries. The new centre will be a vital resource providing comprehensive rehabilitation services to the people of Israel in their time of need.


An excerpt from an article by Abigail Klein Leichman in Zenger News 


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