Prof. Joshua (Shuki) Shemer, MD, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Assuta Medical Centers Network receiving Assuta Prize by Minister of Construction Yoav Gallant and Jerusalem Post Group CEO Ronit Hassin-Hochman at the 7th Annual JPost Conference in NY.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Assuta Ashdod Public Hospital and Prof. Joshua Shemer were awarded a prize by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday for opening the first public hospital in the State of Israel in 40 years.
The award was bestowed on Shemer at the Post’s annual conference in New York by Housing Minister Yoav Galant and Jerusalem Post Group CEO Ronit Hassin-Hochman.
In his acceptance speech, Shemer noted that it was only a year before when he had stood before the same crowd and shared his plans to open the facility.
Today, “I am here to share our great success. The need for immediate hospital care in Ashdod proves itself every day,” he said, thanking Israel’s former Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz for championing the cause for a new hospital.
“Dear Yuval, you share this award with Assuta,” said Shemer. “You successfully secured the government funding to help build it in Ashdod, the only one of Israel’s 10 largest cities without a local hospital and the first public hospital built in Israel in over 40 years.”
He also thanked Aliya and Integration Minister Sofa Landver, who he said led the political and social efforts to establish the hospital.
Then, Shemer shared a recent episode that occurred at the hospital.
It was a Friday at 1:30 p.m., when a 31-year-old woman entered the emergency room of Assuta Ashdod Public Hospital. At 20 weeks pregnant, she was complaining of severe abdominal pain that turned out to be a ruptured uterus with excessive internal bleeding in her abdomen, despite no external signs. Within minutes, she had an emergency ultrasound, and by 1:45 p.m. she underwent a lifesaving operation.
“A few more minutes and she would have gone into hypervolemic shock,” said Shemer. “This is just one of many examples of cases where if a patient had to travel to a hospital outside of Ashdod, she wouldn’t have survived.”
What’s next for Assuta Ashdod?
Shemer said plans are underway to build an underground medical facility with 500 beds, which will serve a critical need in the event of another major crisis, like the one that took place in 2014. Then, during Operation Protective Edge, some 230 rockets rained down on the city of Ashdod, which is located only 25 miles from the Gaza Strip.
He said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shares this vision and has offered his personal support.
Already, Shemer explained, Assuta Ashdod is Israel’s first fully rocket-proof hospital, built with a unique bomb-shelter designed to withstand missile attacks. It is also chemical- and biological weapons-proof.
“Our deep appreciation goes to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose support for this new public hospital, turned the biblical sand dunes of the Israelites and Canaanites into a medical oasis,” said Shemer. He noted that it is the prime minister himself who is “our committed partner in our next stage of development.”
Shemer said that Israel is at the top of the medical field in almost all areas. But he said that even with all its successes of the last 70 years, “we must do more. We must prepare for the next conflict, add more hospital beds, more protected facilities, new critical medical equipment and keep pace with medical technology. At the same time, we must continue the important groundbreaking medical research and training that makes a difference in all of our lives.”