Despite the quarantine of some members of her team, Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem head trauma nurse Odeya Tel Tsur, chosen this week to be the Israeli online MedNews’ Woman of the Week, is in an upbeat mood.
“We’re doing just fine. It’s extremely tough working at the moment but we’re strong,” she says during a break in yet another 14-hour shift.
Tel Tsur hasn’t seen her family in two weeks. Her father-in-law is ailing, so her husband, Amir, and their three kids have moved in with him.
“I miss them all terribly, but I want them to be well, and I have to remain healthy, so being on my own at home is not the worst thing in these circumstances,” she says.
There have been major changes over the last few weeks in the trauma unit. The main adult treatment area has been turned into a virology unit, with all staff adhering to the new safety protocols. Half of the children’s trauma area is dedicated to fighting COVID-19.
“Don’t forget, we’re still admitting non-coronavirus-related patients,” says Tel Tsur. “The more people are staying home, the more we’re seeing home-related accidents.”
She estimates that about 60 percent of patients are virus related. They come to the hospital either because they fear they have contracted COVID-19 and are referred by their family doctor or because they are brought there by ambulance. Upon arrival they are tested and treated by the trauma team. While waiting for their test results, they are sent to a unit where they are isolated. Those who test negative may be sent home immediately or remain in the hospital for further treatment.
The hospital’s COVID-19 outbreak staff, separated from the rest of the hospital in the Round Building, determines where those who test positive should be sent. Some go to the unit itself while others are sent to one of the country’s hotels currently serving as isolation and convalescent units for patients.
“I’m incredibly proud of my team,” says Tel Tsur. “In the early days of the coronavirus, we were down 20 nurses who were quarantined or isolated, but we are getting through this. I requisitioned staff from other departments. That was a big help.
“We know how much the supporters of Hadassah value what we do. That means a lot. People show their gratitude by sending us chocolate and flowers. At Hadassah Hospital, we know we’re making a difference.”