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The Quality of Commitment

Diary of A Director General
By Prof. Ehud Kokia
Director General, Hadassah Medical Organization

(Pictured at right: Bonnie Lipton with Prof. Ehud Kokia and Prof. Dov Pode, Chairman of the Department of Urology)

As I thought about three seemingly unconnected events that occurred in the past few weeks and how they represented different aspects of our Hadassah life, the word 'quality' came to mind - quality of care, quality assurance and most of all, quality of commitment.

Last week, we held an overnight exercise in preparation for moving the first patients into the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower just three weeks from today. The Department of Urology on the Fifth Floor will be the first to open, so it was there that we tested all the systems and double checked all the details. Some of the people who have been involved in our wonderful new inpatient facility had the pleasure of spending the night in patient rooms, which all agreed rivaled some five-star hotels. Nurses from the Department of Urology and housekeeping and maintenance personnel were on hand to simulate actual conditions.

However, for our volunteers, this was not simply a night out in a resort environment. They were given a list of tasks to perform and a five-page questionnaire to complete, testing and evaluating all the issues that will affect our patients' lives. A few problems were immediately evident and we will learn of others as we compile the responses. Yet the problems were relatively minor, especially when you consider that this is a 19-story, one million square-foot building.

Hadassah is highly regarded for the quality of its medical services; somewhat less so for the physical quality of the conditions for hospitalized patients and the burdens those impose on our staff. Some Urology Department nurses completed their "practice" shift in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower at 11:00 pm and were back in the Urology Department in the old building at 7:00 am the next morning. The contrast between what was and what will be was immediately obvious to them, as it was for all who understood the need for a new facility and all who have supported it.

Less than a week before, our trauma team learned that they were about to receive many of the young Palestinian children - two, three and four years old - who were severely burned when their kindergarten bus was hit by a truck. HMO's years of experience in handling mass casualty events was immediately evident. Pediatric surgeons, pediatric plastic surgeons, general surgeons, anesthetists, pediatric intensive care specialists, pulmonologists, orthopedists, ophthalmologists, maxillofacial specialists, radiologists, nurses and social workers were all on hand when the children arrived by ambulance.

In the Trauma Unit, quality of treatment and care took precedence over other considerations. Religious and secular Jewish and Arab paramedics worked in total harmony, transporting the children to Hadassah where our team of secular and religious Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses was waiting. It was a shining example of what Hadassah believes and what we practice, and it was heartwarming to see it demonstrated yet again under the most difficult of circumstances.

The superb care the children received was complimented by the assistance our Family Information team of Arabic and Hebrew-speaking social workers provided their frantic parents. Reading the news reports the next day, I noticed that Murad Alian, coordinator of an East Jerusalem rescue team of Arabs and Jews, was one of the first to arrive at the accident scene. We know Mr. Alian in a different capacity. He is a part of our team of translators at Hadassah-Ein Kerem, helping our patients every day on much less dramatic occasions.

And quality of a different sort was evident at the event in London that kicked-off the beginning of the year-long Chagall Anniversary Project. Conceived by Hadassah-UK, this unusual fundraising initiative is a tangible expression of the quality of their commitment to HMO, specifically to the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower. The Chagall Anniversary Project commemorates the 100th anniversary of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, and the 50th anniversary of the installation of the Chagall Windows in the Abbell Synagogue at Hadassah-Ein Kerem.

When approached by Hadassah-UK Board Member Natalie Dwek, Christie's, the internationally renowned Fine Art Auction House headquartered in London, enthusiastically agreed to collaborate on this unique undertaking. Working with Anke Adler-Slottke, Senior Director at Christie's, they arranged for donors to sponsor one of the Chagall Windows for a contribution of one million dollars each, which will be designated for the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower. They are also offering people the opportunity to benefit HMO by donating art, sculpture and jewelry to be sold at one of Christie's international auctions.

And so about three weeks ago during London's first snowstorm, I was one of the 150 people who braved the elements to participate in the occasion at Christie's flagship gallery. The elegant and impressive event more than made up for the problems the weather presented. First we were treated to a private viewing of the extraordinary impressionist and modern art that adorned the walls. Then, against the backdrop of a magnificent Chagall painting, we had the great privilege of hearing Meret Meyer share her memories and stories of her grandfather, Marc Chagall, and especially of his love for Hadassah.

The quality of caring was evident that night, just as it during the tragic bus accident and the during the Davidson Tower dry run. Everyone involved - in London and Jerusalem, in the beautiful auction gallery, the busy Trauma Unit and in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower - represented HMO's commitment to quality, commitment to excellence.

The days seem to fly by in a rapid whirl as we approach March 19th, when we open the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower to our first patients and greet our special guests, whose quality of caring and commitment is incomparable.



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