Dialog Box

Rehab Nurse Helps War-Wounded to Heal, Physically and Emotionally

Nurses at the Gandel Rehabilitation Center at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus play an important role in helping wounded soldiers to recover, providing round-the-clock care and emotional support. Sarit Mezevitz Sonnenschein, deputy head nurse at the Rehabilitation Center, has treated dozens of wounded soldiers since the beginning of the war with Hamas and shared her experience on International Nurses Day.

"I see the role of the nurse as an address for everything, whether it's helping with the patient's basic physical needs, like getting out of bed for the first time or even showering and eating or supporting the mental and emotional aspect –– identifying what they are coping with and directing the right treatment or assistance,” Sarit said.

After October 7, construction of the new Gandel Rehabilitation Center was greatly accelerated to account for a dramatic shortage of rehabilitation beds. Doors opened to the first phase of the center in January, accommodating an initial 72 patients.

"The wounded from the war began to arrive for rehabilitation. The department’s management was carried out with the cooperation of all the teams –– nursing, medicine, occupational therapists, dieticians, speech therapists, physical therapists and, uniquely, the war-wounded were joined by alternative medicine therapists and therapy dogs,” Sarit said. “We understood that the course of treatment for them is different, and we need to give them additional treatments that are unique and adapted to the complex situations they went through during the war.”

The soldiers being treated at the center have inspired Sarit, each in their own way, by demonstrating incredible strength in their coping mechanisms and a fierce desire to return to the life they knew before their injuries, she said.

“My husband was also drafted at the beginning of the war, and my treatment of the wounded was a kind of closure for me,” said Sarit, a mother of five who has worked in rehabilitation at Hadassah Mount Scopus for 13 years. “This gave additional meaning to my work, even at a time when my heart was heavy and very worried. Sometimes I cried with them. I don't believe in holding myself back until I leave the room. It's real emotion that comes out toward them, and in difficult moments, tears were shed."

Soldier Aharon Shmuel Bryce speaks of Sarit's unwavering dedication: "In such an intensive rehabilitation process, you need with you the person who will believe in you no matter what happens, and Sarit was that person. She was always there by my side, showing a level of commitment that was truly inspiring."

Sarit talked about getting to know Aharon, a soldier in the Armored Brigade who was seriously wounded in battle in the heart of the Gaza Strip. "Aharon came to us for rehabilitation when he needed physical help walking because the injury impaired his stability. He was severely wounded; he had shrapnel all over his body that caused deep wounds that required intensive treatment. In the early days, Aharon would use friends to help him walk around the department, but I always saw him with a smile. His character has such brightness, and he sees every situation as an opportunity for something better…. He accepts what comes to him and grows from it; it's an attitude that saves him. Within a week, he was walking steadily in the department independently.”

"We connected and created a special bond because of our personal stories," she added, "We found the similarities and commonalities, and it entered my heart."

Even after Aharon was discharged from the department, he visited Sarit occasionally, and their relationship continued. A few weeks after his release, Aharon held a celebration and invited Sarit, who came to support him.

"The celebration was very moving. Aharon couldn't stop thanking everyone who was there and seeing him standing there after the serious injury he underwent, and the intensive rehabilitation process moved me to tears,” Sarit said. “He is a special person, and I am glad I had the privilege of caring for him and all the other soldiers who had passed through our department." 

Back to Newsletter 

19 June 2024
Category: News