“It is important to help people” – A conversation with Eyal Greenbaum

“As a religious man, I believe that it is important to help people and to improve people’s lives.”

 (photo credit: TSIPI KARLIK)
(photo credit: TSIPI KARLIK)
“As a religious man, I believe that it is important to help people and to improve people’s lives.” Eyal Greenbaum, founder, and head of SHAAG Medical, Ltd, has lived his life by this credo in all that he does. Greenbaum, who was a volunteer ambulance driver for Magen David Adam, and who served as a medic in the IDF, founded SHAAG in 1992 and is one of Israel’s leading importers of medical devices that improve and enhance lives, from life-saving heart defibrillators to phototherapy devices for treating psoriasis and other painful skin ailments.  He has established full-service medical centers in Shaar Binyamin and Jerusalem that provide a wide range of medical services, including family medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, orthopedics, and more, and is involved in a range of startups that are working on new technologies designed to help people live healthier lives. SHAAG has also expanded its activities to Europe.

Greenbaum, 52, a father of five and grandfather of seven, who lives in Maaleh Michmas, himself, has had personal experience in urgent medical situations, having undergone a liver transplant in May 2006. He was instrumental in the passage of two laws in 2008 regarding urgent medical treatment in Israel. The first was designed to regulate organ donations in conjunction with Jewish religious law and established legal criteria for brain death. The second law instituted the requirement to install cardiac defibrillators in all public places with a capacity of 500 people. Defibrillators are used to treat patients suffering from cardiac arrest by delivering an automated dose of electrical current to the heart.

Greenbaum recalls when he first realized the life-saving potential of the defibrillator. “I saw people who were saved because of it. An American grandmother who had traveled to Israel to attend her granddaughter’s wedding went into cardiac arrest at the wedding. Fortunately, the wedding hall had a defibrillator. She received two shocks and was able to walk to the ambulance.”

Eyal Greenbaum has been instrumental in bringing a wide variety of medical devices to Israel that have been developed in Ireland, Germany, China, Denmark, Holland, the United States, and Australia. They are widely used by hospitals and medical organizations, Magen David Adom, individuals, and all government agencies. He is particularly proud of having brought three types of devices to Israel. The phototherapy machines that are used to treat psoriasis via his Gaya Medical company, he says, have greatly improved the quality of life for many people that suffer the painful effects of the disease. Second, he says, is the Athena GTX, a portable medical monitor used to treat IDF soldiers in the field that provides critical medical information quickly and reliably. Third, he says, is the defibrillator, which has been improved to provide real-time audio feedback for those who are treating patients with it, instructing them how and where to apply CPR.

Greenbaum suggests that one of the most promising areas in medicine is that of tele-health and has established a company that is developing a medical device that will be able to quickly measure vital signs and sent them electronically to doctors and clinics. He is confident that personal medical devices will become widespread in the near future. One of Greenbaum’s startup companies is developing a natural substitute for Ritalin, which is used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD).

When the Corona pandemic reached Israel, Greenbaum arranged for the delivery of six planeloads of critically needed supplies to Israel, including masks and other equipment. He says that the pandemic has taught the medical community greater humility, saying, “Corona has taught us that what we don’t know, we don’t know.”

“I believe that whatever God does is for the best,” he declares. “As the New Year approaches, it is important that we retain our faith. “Even if someone is in a difficult situation – financially, spiritually, or mentally – don’t give up hope. This is my message.”

This article was written in cooperation with SHAAG Medical.