|A Friday Story|
Chanukah at Hadassah is always a wonderful time when the entire Medical Center seems especially filled with joy and warmth. This is particularly true in the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center where decorations delight and our staff makes sure that parents and patients – even the sickest children – can celebrate in some fashion. In the Maternity Pavilion, there are celebrations of a different sort as a record number of babies continue to be born – five to eight percent more than this time last year.
Chanukah is special, but Chanukah comes only once a year. Yet every day of the year I see how our Hadassah family goes out of its way to convey that warmth, to connect in a very personal way. Every day I hear at least one story that illustrates the caring and concern that is such an integral part of medical treatment.
Just the other day, Head Midwife Nava Braverman told me one of those stories, which I would like to share with you.
Last week, on a busy Friday night, a young couple anxiously arrived at the Hadassah-Ein Kerem – not an easy feat, for she is confined to a wheelchair and he is deaf. The woman thought she was about to give birth to their first child. When it turned out the baby was not ready to be born, the midwives advised them to go home and wait a little longer, offering to have an ambulance transport them.
Religiously observant, they refused to be driven on Friday night. The midwives and nurses suggested they remain at the hospital until the end of Shabbat. Again they refused, insisting they could make it on their own.
All they wanted, they said, was the use of a wheelchair, so they could walk home – that is, he would walk and push her home. They live in Kiryat HaYovel – about ten minutes away from Hadassah by car – but a taxing journey by foot, up and down several steep hills .
The midwives pleaded with them to stay, to no avail. The couple was adamant. After several more attempts at persuasion, the midwives contacted Hadassah’s security team – and when they heard the story, one of the security guards volunteered to push the woman home. Then off they went into the night – a deaf man accompanying his pregnant wife, and the strapping young security guard pushing her wheelchair.
As of now, their baby has not arrived, but we look forward to welcoming them and assisting in the birth.
In Israel, midwives assist women in giving birth, although there is always a doctor available in case of an unexpected complication.
When the midwives and the parents differ, trust is essential. The midwives always explain the situation and the reasons for their approach, but never proceed without the parent’s agreement. They both want the same thing – to do what’s best for their baby.
The enormous responsibility of assisting a birth is more than offset by the reward of the experience, Ms. Braverman said. The 45 midwives at Hadassah-Ein Kerem work in shifts, but they often ignore the clock, staying with their patients until the baby is born. The intense experience creates a strong personal connection in a short period of time. Many of Hadassah’s patients return years later to visit “their” midwife and introduce their child – a testimony to the strong bond they remember.
Nava Braverman said she became a midwife for many reasons, but most of all for the joy of the experience. Now hers is essentially a management position, but she still returns to the birthing rooms to assist in deliveries. “I love my work,” she says simply. “I love the happiness it brings.”
“I WAS BORN AT HADASSAH”
At Hadassah, everyone cares. From the midwives and the security guards to the highest levels of management, everyone cares intensely. There is a special spirit here, a dedication to seeing our patients as people, treating them with the understanding that each and every one of them comes with personal concerns.
Our human touch is the tie that connects us to our patients, to each other and to you, our Hadassah family throughout the world.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Chanukah Sameach,
Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef