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A proud Ashdodi: Building a home for staff and patients

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

“I’m an Ashdodi,” quips Tzafrir Eshel, with pride. “I grew up here.”

That’s why, in 2015, it was so important to him to be directly involved in establishing and defining what would become Samson Assuta Ashdod Hospital.

As Operational Manager of Surgical Nursing, Supply and Central Recovery, Tzafrir is passionate about Assuta Ashdod.

“My dream was to build the highest quality hospital with the best care available. This place is why I get up in the morning and why I work all hours of the day and night. I am proud to lead this department with my own hands.”

But it’s not just about running an “efficient” system, implementing innovative, tech-based medicine and offering unique specializations. Tzafrir explains, “What’s special here is the people. They see their workplace as their home, and they’re willing to do a lot to support it.”

This attitude trickles down to the patient experience.

When seven-year-old Ori Zazot arrived for surgery, the staff checked all his stats, got him into hospital jammies, and suddenly discovered that it was his birthday.

“We have 15 minutes between surgeries to prepare the room for the next patient. We grabbed those few minutes to put together a surprise party for Ori. We chose a gift from our prize room and brought it to the operating theater.” Tzafrir and his staff set up colored lights in the room and played birthday songs through the speakers. As Ori entered the operating theater with his father, the staff surprised him, handing him a gift, and singing Happy Birthday.”

Everyone was emotional.

For Tzafrir, the surgical nurses and the doctors, it’s important to help patients feel they’re in good hands and to know the staff around them are kind and empathetic. In fact, a young child can enter the surgical theater by him/herself driving a sterile kiddie car. This simple action provides the child with a sense of control.

“We even put a mask on the child as if he or she is a ‘pilot’. We ask older kids who their favorite characters or heroes are and project those pictures on the wall. We also play any song they request.”

With just four to five minutes to create this warm and inviting environment in an otherwise potentially cold and frightening place, the staff maximizes every second.

For Tzafrir, being a leader at Assuta Ashdod is much more than a job; it’s a personal mission. When he was a student, he was hit by a car and hospitalized far from home because Assuta Ashdod didn’t exist yet. When his elderly parents required medical treatment, they had to travel to a hospital more than 35 minutes away, which made their medical difficulties even more challenging.

As an Ashdodi, Tzafrir is confident that his fellow city dwellers are finally receiving the quality care they need and deserve, without any delay or commute.

“I think we provide our patients with the best service from check-in through recovery.”

Unified and goal-oriented, the hospital staff has become a family. “We plowed this field, and now we harvest the produce every day. Together, we started down this path and together we’ll continue to grow.”


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