Imagine having a compassionate physician who can understand what you’re saying whether you speak Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian, Yiddish, Spanish or Bulgarian. Such is the new head of Hadassah Emergency Medicine Department Dr. Aziz Darawsha. “I can’t write poetry in all of those languages, but I can understand and express myself.”
Dr. Darawsha was born in an Arab village near Nazareth, the first of eleven children. “I was programmed to be a physician before I was born,” he said. His father was a farmer who had completed four years of elementary school. His mother, a housewife, never learned to read or write. “But she was very intelligent and a strict Mom,” said Dr. Darawsha. Three of his siblings are also doctors.
You need to be a lover of action to go into emergency medicine, he says. “Everyone says time is money, but for us, time is life.” He came to Emergency medicine from cardiology, and one of his areas of research focuses on cardiac emergencies as part of general emergency care.
He served as Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Emek Medical Center in Afula in Northern Israel, not far from where he grew up.”I received offers from other big centers and turned them down. I came to Hadassah because I knew it was the best hospital in the Middle East and one of the best in the world.”
His goals are to make sure Hadassah Hospital fulfills the top standards of the very best American hospital emergency rooms. His biggest problem is overcrowding. “Look, it’s 9 AM, and we’re already backlogged with patients who need to be transferred to the wards. When the new Tower is fully operational, this should help.”
The patient mix in Afula was almost evenly mixed between Jews and Arabs. Hadassah has a greater variety of patients—more extremely religious Jews and Moslem,and more foreigners. “The biggest difference isn’t the patient population but the complexity of the injuries and disease. Because Hadassah has sophisticated departments like neurosurgery, the most complex cases are referred here.”
Dr. Darawsha praised the the Judy and Sidney Swartz Center for Emergency medicine, built after the intifada. “It’s modern and spacious,” he said.”We just have to work on patient-flow to overcome the back-up.”
Dr. Drawsha has four sons, one a graduate of Hadassah’s medical school, currently doing a fellowship in neurosurgery. His wife, a math teacher, and their 11-year old son will join him in Jerusalem at the end of the school year. In the meantime, he’s using his bachelor time to familiarize himself with every aspect of Hadassah. He’s at the hospital at least 12 hours a day, and is often called back for emergencies in the evening. Since 2010 he has served as President of the Israeli Association of Emergency Medicine. In 2011, he was named an Honorary member of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
“I’m very proud to be part of the Hadassah family, and to have the 330,000 women of Hadassah standing behind the work we do. I look forward to meeting them and describing the work that we do.”
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