Ehud Kogan's story

Diana Kogan has spent the last dozen years of her life working to prevent car accidents in Jerusalem. But the director of the Office of Safety for the Jerusalem Municipality couldn't prevent her own son, Ehud, from being involved in a horrific car accident last year that nearly took his life. He was taken by ambulance to Hadassah Ein Kerem, where he hovered between life and death for two days. "My world ended," said Kogan, who has three children. "The family's world ended. I was scared I would lose him and I prayed. If he could stand on his legs, I will be the happiest women in the world because no one will believe that he would." Ehud remained in the hospital for three months and underwent ten surgeries. While the 18-year-old was still recovering, he and his mother were approached by Hadassah Medical Organization to participate in a new program aimed at combating traffic accidents among youth. At first, hospital staff didn't realize that Kogan was responsible for all issues of road safety in Jerusalem. But the irony soon became clear. "Until today, people tell me, 'Fate is laughing. If this had to happen to anyone, why you?'" she said. "But this shouldn't have to happen to anyone." Kogan, in her role with the municipality, participated in the multi-agency team of experts coordinated by Hadassah that helped create the program's content. The team decided to include lectures from those who work with accident survivors on the front lines: a surgeon, a social worker, an orthopedist and a traffic safety expert from Green Light. "We all agreed that 12th grade is the right age because it's the age that they become drivers and it gives them something that shocks them a bit, teaches them a little, and hopefully, they will learn from this," Kogan said. Ehud was a passenger when he and two of his friends were returning home one Saturday night after going to the city center in October 2004. At a fork in the road, the driver lost control of the vehicle, which spun, rolled over several times and hit a power line. It took the firemen 40 minutes to extract Ehud from the car. Fortunately, all three were wearing their seat belts. Only Ehud was seriously injured. While still in rehabilitation, Ehud spoke to students about the accident during last year's pilot program that involved three schools and 400 students. It was a moral debt he felt toward Hadassah for saving his life, she said. Ehud, now 19, is not only able to walk, but through sheer determination is also serving in the IDF. Kogan hopes the Hadassah program will teach young drivers that it is their responsibility to prevent accidents. And that when an accident happens, it is a disaster not only for the survivors, but also for their families and friends. Kogan believes that her son's recovery and the work Hadassah did to save his life has simply been miraculous. "The day that he enlisted in the Army was the happiest day of my life," she said.