Dr. Peter Vernon Van Heerden
Dr. Peter Vernon Van Heerden, an Australian intensive care specialist with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, and a professor at the University of Western Australia, will shortly be moving to Israel and joining the medical staff of the Hadassah University Medical Center.
"I became a zionist the very first time I visited Israel, during my fifth year student elective in 1981," relates Dr. Van Heerden. "As happens with all of us," he explains, "I then spent a busy 30 years pursuing my career as an anesthetist and intensive care specialist in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Australia and having a family (Dan--24, Adam--23, and Liron--17). It's only now that the dust has settled--my children are more independent--and I've achieved most of what I want career-wise in Australia, that I can pursue the dream of aliyah that has been with me all this time."
Dr. Van Heerden, who additionally has a deep interest in research and holds a Master's degree and a PhD as well as his medical degree, has also been awarded an academic appointment at the Hebrew University.
Having received his undergraduate training in South Africa, Dr. Van Heerden took specialist training in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Australia. At present, he also practices anesthesiology at St. John of God Hospitals in Australia. In the beginning of July, Dr. Van Heerden will become a senior physician at Hadassah, working as an intensive care specialist with Prof. David Linton, Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit. He will be joining Dr. Sigal Sviri and Dr. Abed Abbaye, helping them to prepare for the move to the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower and the expansion of the unit from 9 to 16 beds.
No stranger to Hadassah, Dr. Van Heerden worked at the hospital during his sabbaticals in 2007 and 2010. "My wife, Fiona," Dr. Van Heerden adds, "is also now ready to make the move and a happy wife makes for a happy home and a happy aliyah."