An ENT Lending an Ear to Holocaust Survivors in Need
Updated: Nov 9, 2022
“Knowing how important it is to support Holocaust survivors, I thought to myself, why aren’t there more resources being provided by hospitals?” Dr. Eliad Aviram recounts with a frustrated passion.
After seeing a Facebook post about the L’Ma’anam mobile unit dedicated to helping Holocaust survivors, Dr. Aviram, deputy director of Assuta Ashdod and an ENT specialist, knew he could not continue idly scrolling. Driven to action, he not only started volunteering with the mobile unit he saw publicized, but also began making house calls on his own to Holocaust survivors in his hometown of Nes Tziona, as well as in Lod, Rehovot, and the surrounding areas.
“Many of the survivors are disabled and cannot physically leave their homes, despite a dire need for medical assistance. Some of them live in buildings without elevators and are unable to use the stairs to get help. Our goal is to provide them the medical treatment they deserve, despite these logistical challenges.”
Severely understaffed and lacking resources, Dr. Aviram quickly understood that L’Ma’anam could only accomplish so much on its own. Unwilling to give up hope, he turned to Assuta Ashdod to cultivate a partnership with L’Ma’anam. Collectively, they are improving and extending the lives of Holocaust survivors in the Ashdod area.
Assuta Ashdod leapt at the chance. While Dr. Aviram graciously volunteers his time, Assuta Ashdod generously offered to pay the salaries of the other doctors working in the mobile unit to increase much-needed manpower.
Despite the undeniable desire to help, nothing can change the fact that there is only so much an ENT can do for a patient in their home or within a mobile unit. Certain procedures like administering hearing tests can only take place in a hospital, however, Assuta Ashdod rose to that challenge. Dr. Aviram can now utilize the hospital’s resources for treatment and improve the medical care that survivors receive.
“It is not uncommon for patients to wait months for tests or procedures in hospitals, but Holocaust survivors shouldn’t wait,” laments Dr. Aviram. Thankfully, by partnering with Assuta Ashdod, Dr. Aviram is able to push these patients to the top of the waiting list, making it possible for them to receive treatment in the hospital on an as-needed basis.
Dr. Aviram plans to build additional partnerships between L’Ma’anam and hospitals all over the country. Toward that end, he is organizing a conference for hospital managers about this collaboration, aiming to engage their assistance and involvement.
“In the meantime, we continue fighting for survivors because it’s the right thing to do. My grandparents were Holocaust survivors and became Asirei Tzion and were arrested in Hungary after the war. Survivors have been through so much suffering and, at the very least, deserve to have their basic medical needs addressed.”
“The truth is that most of the work we do with the mobile unit is not “heroic” in the traditional sense. Many of the patients we see just need a good ear cleaning, but the project is about so much more than that. Because many of the patients live alone, their greatest ailment is often loneliness. I may be an ENT, but what these patients really need at the end of the day is someone who can lend an ear - someone they can talk to.”
Dr. Aviram stresses that while it’s important to provide medical care to Holocaust survivors, that is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s critical to show that we care - all of us must take the time to visit them, face-to-face, and listen.