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(photo credit: Dani Machlis)
The name Applebaum and a mobile intensive care unit seem to go together in the minds of many people, who remember Dr. David Applebaum riding Magen David Adom ambulances in Jerusalem.
Now, three years after he and his daughter Naava were murdered by a suicide bomber at Cafe Hillel in Jerusalem, on the night before Naava's wedding, Applebaum's 21-year-old daughter Shira is riding MDA ambulances in Beersheba, where she is in the last year of a BA program to become a paramedic.
Her father, who was the director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center's emergency department and a pioneer in Israeli urgent medical care, would have been proud.
Shira said her grades weren't high enough for her to be accepted to medical school, but with her paramedic degree from Ben-Gurion University's Health Sciences Faculty paramedic program, she hopes she'll have boosted her chances to get a foot in the door.
"He told us to do anything that interests us, and I wanted to be a doctor from a young age," she told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday after a day of studies. One of her brothers, Yitzhak, is already a medical student.
Shira spent her first semester working in her father's hospital, to which BGU's Health Sciences Faculty is affiliated, and then moved to Beersheba. Close to 30 students are in the program, some in an army Atuda program. The curriculum is very intense, with much material to learn and constant exams.
Most of the people she meets know who she is, Applebaum said, adding, "They hear the name Applebaum and ask."
She said the hardest part of the program was not dealing with memories of her father with ambulances, but the pressure of the job, "deciding quickly what to do." The ambulance team she accompanies has saved numerous lives, as did her father, she said.
MDA runs its own paramedic course, but BGU's is the only academic one leading to a degree, and it includes a broader spectrum of material, she said.
"What I have learned will give me a serious push ahead," said Dr. David Applebaum's daughter, who hopes to study to become a doctor while working as a paramedic.