Speaking on a Hadassah International–hosted webinar to over 200 people from 25 countries around the world, Hadassah Medical Organization Director General Prof. Zeev Rotstein explained that the future will continue to require hospitals to perform a double mission— treating COVID-19 patients in isolated settings in parallel with caring for all other patients who require hospitalization. Fortunately, he noted, Hadassah is well positioned to meet this challenge. Because the old inpatient facility, known as the Round Building, was in the process of being renovated, Prof. Rotstein noted that it “proved to be a treasure,” well suited to become the home of five COVID-19 units, two of which are intensive care units (ICUs).
Some Israeli hospitals were initially unprepared for the pandemic, Prof. Rotstein reported. They found themselves without enough personal protective equipment and were even short of a basic disinfectant like alcohol. Hadassah sprang into action and began manufacturing its own Hadassol disinfectant, which it shared with other hospitals, he said. Others began copying Hadassah’s protocols, and the hospital became a role model for the country.
Hadassah has also gone beyond Israel’s borders to share its protocols. Prof. Rotstein reported that Hadassah Moscow now has a drive-through coronavirus testing facility. In addition, Hadassah is helping the Palestinian Authority set up testing laboratories.
“We are bringing patients back from the angel of death,” Prof. Rotstein noted. Using modern methods and medicines, he explained, Hadassah is saving many of those who become severely ill. Hadassah has many staff members who, like Prof. Rotstein, were trained in disaster preparedness and bring that knowledge to bear in dealing with this pandemic. In addition, Prof. Rotstein related, “There is a very unique spirit which, along with the technology, is helping us to lower the mortality rate.” At the same time, Hadassah has been able to recruit well-trained ICU nurses to work in the COVID-19 units. All this decreases mortality, he said.
Looking to the future, Prof. Rotstein acknowledges that “it is still a mystery as to whether COVID may return.” But, he says, the fact that Hadassah went digital three years ago will be a big help in this new reality. Being prepared to diagnose and treat patients digitally so medical personnel can help them remotely will reduce the number of casualties resulting from the pandemic.
Prof. Rotstein cautioned that despite the need to focus on COVID-19, Hadassah must continue to build its general infrastructure to prepare for future medical needs that will exist in parallel with COVID-19 challenges. To this end, he asked listeners to consider expediting their financial support.