“This is the time for mobilisation, and we’re here for the State of Israel.”

Professor Zeev Rotstein, Director General of Hadassah Hospital, delivered his promise just as the first bottles of Hadassah’s in-house hand sanitizers Hadassol were being delivered to health services around Israel.

Hadassah Hospital Director General Zeev Rotstein is taking strong measures to guard the health of patients and staff.

The hospital has expanded production with three shifts per day under the direction of Hadassah’s pharmacy manager, Orit Bitner.  The aim is to urgently distribute at least 700,000 bottles to support the national effort.

This powerful outreach at one of the most critical times in Israel’s history is further evidence that Hadassah is more than a hospital.

“Hadassah is determined to do our part to save Israel’s health system,” Prof Rotstein continued.  “Each of us has the power to give hope, which is the reason that Hadassah has stepped up to support the national effort.”

As one of Israel’s seven designated hospitals on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis, Hadassah is working overtime to meet the enormous challenges necessary to protect the people of Jerusalem and wider Israeli society.

Prof Rotstein reassured Israelis that the hospital is doing everything to guard the health of the hospital patients and the care staff.

The first change that will be noticeable to people entering the hospital is a security guard equipped with a digital thermometer. At the same time, people are being questioned about how they feel, who they’ve been with, and where they’ve travelled.

Anyone presenting with a temperature is required to enter the hospital through a separate entrance and will undergo further examination.

In the emergency room, medical teams have to treat everyone who comes to the ER as if they have, or the potential to have, the coronavirus.  Is this a case of ‘maybe’ (has this person had contact with someone who may have the virus)?  If they have had contact, do they have symptoms?  Or are tests warranted just to rule it out? It can be very stressful for staff because every decision has consequences.

Every Hadassah doctor, nurse, laboratory technician and support worker, infectious disease expert and active staff is on the front line. These people must react quickly, pick up signs or data from the suspected cases, and know that every second is important, and potentially critical.

Hadassah has responded to the coronavirus crisis in Israel by establishing a contagious disease ward (ICU) on the 5th floor of the hospital’s old tower (Round Building), which is currently being renovated (see Editorial).

“We still haven’t finished tearing out all the old wards in the Round Building,” Prof Rotstein says, ”so we have the option of using them for this purpose. We have the luxury of being able to keep these patients separate from the rest of the hospital as we are able to treat the rest of our inpatients in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower.”

The Outbreak ICU is receiving patients with severe respiratory problems. The numbers are growing every day, but Hadassah is managing to keep things in hand.