Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Ein Gedi Botanic Garden
Seek the serenity of a Judean Desert sky in Autumn at the Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Monday, February 11, 2008

When Life Collides With Death for a Jewish Doctor

Dr. Baruch Mendeltzvei didn’t waste time when he heard the explosion; he rushed to the scene with nurses. He also didn’t waste time when he saw the explosives belt on his patient.

For at least one doctor in Israel, the medical issues of life and death converged last Monday morning with the issue of national survival.

When Dr. Baruch Mendeltzvei heard the explosion in the center of the town, he didn’t wait to find out what had happened. He and several nurses in the Maccabi Health Clinic raced to the scene with medical bags.

The first victim he saw was a man lying on the ground near the dead suicide bomber, bleeding from a head injury.

“We didn’t look to see who it was, whether he was an Arab or a Jew,” Mendeltzvei told IDF Army Radio. “He was in critical condition at the time, but there were signs of life and so we began to treat him.”

Quickly the doctor opened the man’s shirt to check for other injuries – and saw an explosives belt wrapped around his patient’s waist.

The medical team “ran for [their] lives.” Racing to the nearest police officer, the doctor quickly described his discovery.

Within seconds, Police Superintendent Kobi Mor shot the second would-be suicide bomber in the head, killing him instantly and averting what might have been a double tragedy.

Mendeltzveig and his team resumed treating the victims until all were evacuated by ambulance to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva.

Then they returned to the clinic and went back to work. Incredulous, the interviewer asked the doctor if he really had gone back to work. “Yes,” he said. “I’m a little busy,” he added apologetically. “I’m in the middle of seeing patients.”

The cop got a promotion for shooting the terrorist at point-blank range. Dr. Mendeltzveig got a pat on the back and the admiration of people like me.

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