(photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)
Five luxurious new delivery rooms were dedicated on Tuesday at Jerusalem's Bikur Holim Hospital. The new rooms, specially suited to the religious and haredi population in the vicinity of the hospital, cost $1.3 million, which was provided by donors.
Soon, individual stereo systems to listen to religious and other kinds of music and personal computers will be installed in the rooms to make the stay more pleasant.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski, hospital director Bari Bar-Zion and hundreds of guests from Israel and abroad attended the event.
The dedication was especially joyous because of the hospital's recent history of financial problems that put it into temporary receivership and required its purchase by a private buyer.
The hospital's 250 pensioners, who frequently have had to wait to receive their monthly payments, are now receiving them on time due to a temporary arrangement with the Treasury until the hospital is sold.
The Health Ministry insists that Bikur Holim remain a general hospital with the same services provided as when it was owned by a haredi voluntary organization.
Dr. Raphael Pollack, the hospital's medical director as well as an obstetrician and gynecologist, showed the visitors the wireless monitoring system that enables women free movement while in the earlier stages of labor.
There are also one-way curtains, so that women can see and talk to their husbands without the men being able to see their wives during delivery, and personal wig stands.
Obstetrics/gynecology director Prof. Haim Jaffe added that the quality of nursing in the department is as impressive as the aesthetics.
As the building is more than a century old, the renovation was complicated and needed to be done quietly, so as not to disturb women in the other wards and delivery rooms, Pollack said.
The adjacent wards, which have also been renovated, are among the fanciest in the country and allow the newborn to stay with the mother round-the-clock if she wishes, instead of in the nursery.
"Delivery rooms are our hospital's flagship," said Bar-Zion, "and I feel obligated to continue to renovate departments while at the same time raising the level of medicine."