Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, this week commemorated the opening of its expanded Department of Emergency Medicine with a ceremony attended by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, Israel’s Minister of Health Moshe Arbel and other dignitaries and friends of the hospital.  Israel’s President Isaac Herzog offered a video greeting.

Home to a Level One Trauma Centre, Shaare Zedek’s Weinstock Department of Emergency Medicine is the region’s most active urgent response centre admitting over 100,000 a year and experiencing about a ten percent annual increase in patient admissions each year.

The opening ceremony took place on the 20th anniversary of the death of Dr. David Applebaum who was killed in a terror attack alongside his daughter Naava at a Jerusalem cafe on the eve of her wedding.  Dr. Applebaum was the Director of Shaare Zedek’s Emergency Department and was considered a pioneer in the development of the modern field of emergency medicine in Israel.

His daughter Shayna Applebaum Abramson, today a nurse at Shaare Zedek, addressed the event and spoke emotionally about how the Emergency Department has succeeded in realizing the professional vision set out by her father, of seeing each patient as an individual person and working to give them whatever they needed.  Thanking the many different levels of staff members who dedicate themselves each day to caring for Shaare Zedek patients Shayna concluded her remarks saying, “Abba (father) would certainly take great pride in all of you.”

Dr. Todd Zalut, who was a close friend of Dr. Applebaum, today serves as the Director of the Department and spoke about how the sustained growth of Shaare Zedek’s emergency care program is due in large part to the vision of individualized care and the hard work of all members of the hospital team.

The project was funded by the Government of Israel, the Jerusalem Municipality and Shaare Zedek through the generosity of donors and various fundraising projects launched by Shaare Zedek offices and volunteer committees around the world.  The project was designed by the Jerusalem architectural firm of Rubenstein Ofer that has been responsible for many of the key development projects at Shaare Zedek over the past several decades.

The new facility is intended to maximize patient mobility through the department, to allow for faster and more effective patient admission, triage and treatment.  Ambulance arrivals and patient admissions into the Department have been enhanced by the recently opened Cross River Ambulance Bay supported by Cross River Israel that sees over one hundred patients transferred by Magen David Aaron ambulance crews every day.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion addressed the event saying, “The expansion of Shaare Zedek’s Emergency Department will allow for even better care for patients by reducing waiting times and overcrowding. I am deeply grateful to the staff of Shaare Zedek led by Prof. Merin for their holy work on behalf of the people of Jerusalem in saving and bettering lives each and every day.”

Shaare Zedek’s Director General Prof. Ofer Merin was credited for advancing the Emergency Department expansion as one of his core projects upon assuming directorship of the hospital.  “This facility will allow us to strengthen our commitment to a better patient experience under improved conditions and I see this as a remarkable achievement not only for our hospital but for the greater good of Jerusalem and the surrounding region.  While we very much hope that people won’t need our services our commitment is that when that need comes, we are here and ready to care.”

President of Shaare Zedek, Prof. Jonathan Halevy said “This newly expanded department will allow us to further strengthen Shaare Zedek’s historic place in responding to all types of emergencies. The success that this department has been able to achieve is in large part due to the hard work of our staff and that legacy of patient-centered care that Dr. Applebaum inspired within all of us. We recognize that this day has only been made possible because of the commitment and generosity of our donors from across the world.”

Health Minister Moshe Arbel added, “The technology and staff that this Department offers, combined with an approach that puts the patient at the center, represents an important statement for the health of the medical system in Israel and in particular for the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.

The ceremony was followed by a celebratory concert featuring musical star Akiva welcoming hospital staff and patients.