Nine years ago, Asael Lubotzky was serving as a Platoon Commander in Battalion 51 during the Second Lebanon War when Hezbollah terrorists fired an anti-tank missile at the armoured personnel carrier he was in. Asael was seriously wounded and left fighting for his life. Lubotzky recalls, “We were in a convoy and we entered a missile ambush. Seconds before the missile was launched I stood up to see the battle area. Half my body was inside the carrier and half outside, and that’s what really saved my life. The missile hit the front of the vehicle and dozens of pieces of shrapnel sliced through my body, but luckily they hit my lower body. My head and chest were not hit.”
Lubotzky’s injured leg, which was partially attached to his body, slid off the stretcher whilst he was being evacuated. “I shouted at one of the soldiers to catch it and tie it to the stretcher. In my heart I had already accepted that my leg was lost.”
Lubotzky was rushed to Rambam Hospital in Haifa, where doctors worked round the clock to save his leg. Later it was strengthened and extended through muscles that were transplanted from his back.
It has taken 9 years and countless surgeries, but in September 2015 Asael Lubotzky began an internship in Paediatrics at Shaare Zedek Medical Centre and can look towards a brighter future. Unlike other students Lubotzky did not dream of becoming a doctor, it was his own personal experiences of being a patient that moved him to want to explore this career path.
He does not allow anything to get in his way and says sometimes ‘it is a little more difficult spending many hours on my feet, the children ask me about my crutches and usually I feel it creates a better chemistry with them. It’s even a little less frightening to them than a doctor that comes with a white coat and an official uniform.”