Cast members from 3 US TV series wrap up tour

For the second time in a month, actors who play doctors on an American television series were able to simulate medical procedures at Israeli hospitals.

June 20, 2011 03:12
3 minute read.
Lucas Neff, Sarah Drew, Kevin McKidd

Lucas Neff, Sarah Drew, Kevin McKidd 311 . (photo credit: Avi Hayun)

For the second time in a month, actors who play doctors on an American television series were able to simulate medical procedures at Israeli hospitals.

On Friday, Kevin McKidd and Sarah Drew, who portray Dr. Owen Hunt and Dr. April Kepner, respectively, on the ABC show Grey’s Anatomy, visited the robotic surgery laboratory at Hadassah University Medical Center at Ein Kerem. The famous guests were allowed to use the robotic tools to complete procedures, just like their characters.

Thinking out of the box

In May, members of the cast of the FOX series House – Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Jesse Spencer, Amber Tamblyn – and David Shore, the show’s creator, executive producer and lead writer, used robotic surgical tools during a visit to the Sheba Medical Center’s medical simulation ward at Tel Hashomer.

On Friday, McKidd and Drew participated along with Gregory Smith and Travis Milne, who co-star in the ABC police drama series Rookie Blue, and Lucas Neff and Shannon Woodward from the FOX sitcom Raising Hope.

The delegation’s week-long trip was organized by America’s Voices in Israel and co-sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and by El Al Israel Airlines. America’s Voices in Israel also organized the House cast’s tour of Israel last month.

The delegation members also toured the Hadassah University Medical Center- Hebrew University Biotechnology Park and Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center.

“It’s humbling to see the work that real surgeons do,” McKidd told The Jerusalem Post.

McKidd’s mother, Kathleen, accompanied him to Israel.

“My mom’s always wanted to come to Israel and visit Jerusalem,” he said. “This is a lifelong dream of hers.”

McKidd briefly traveled to Israel 15 years ago when, during a family vacation in Cyprus, the Scottish actor took a ship to Israel for a one-day excursion.

He acquired many Israeli friends during the filming of the movie Bunraku, written and directed by Guy Moshe and produced by Ram Bergman, in Romania in 2008.

“I have a group of Israeli friends in Los Angeles – they’re great people and the people here are the same,” McKidd said.

“I encourage travel across the board, not just to Israel, but this is a very interesting country to visit and I would encourage people to come and see the country and the surrounding places.”

The Grey’s Anatomy, Rookie Blue and Raising Hope actors began their tour in Tel Aviv. While dining with former MK Effie Eitam at the 2C eatery atop the Azrieli Towers, another patron, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, walked over to greet Eitam and his guests.

The tour’s itinerary included stops in Jaffa, Sderot (where the actors spoke to film and TV arts students at Sapir Academic College), Nazareth and Safed, as well as climbing Masada, floating in the Dead Sea and swimming in Lake Kinneret. Most of the delegation members left Israel on Sunday evening; Smith and Milne planned to extend their stay so they could travel to Eilat and to Petra in Jordan.

During a press conference with Smith and Neff at Jerusalem’s Inbal Hotel on Sunday, Drew said the most moving places she visited during the trip were the Western Wall and the Garden of Gethsemane.

“There’s so much history here, so I would encourage people to make the trip out,” said Drew, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and the wife of a professor specializing in Second Temple-era Judaism. “I felt completely safe the entire time I’ve been here – I think it’s a good thing to let people know not to be afraid to come,” she said.

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