Finding the story behind every patient: Dr. Shlomo Elias, a detective at heart
Updated: Mar 20
Being a good doctor sometimes means donning a Sherlock Holmes hat and sleuthing for clues. That’s how Dr. Shlomo Elias, foot and ankle surgeon at Assuta Ashdod views his job. Behind every patient, there’s a story. There’s a trail of breadcrumbs, there’s a hiding whodunnit, I just have to be creative and committed enough to find it.
"Sometimes a patient just needs to know he isn’t crazy. They have a real complaint that deserves real attention toward attempting a diagnosis and providing proper treatment.
"I derive great satisfaction from performing the right detective work and reaching the correct diagnosis."
In the early 1960s, at age 13, Yaish Cohen was injured in a devastating earthquake in Agadir, Morocco. His leg crushed by an iron beam, he lay buried under rubble for three days before he was finally rescued.
But for 60 years, not one doctor was willing to operate on him due to the challenging nature of his injury. But then, last spring, he met with Dr. Shlomo Elias at Assuta Ashdod.
Dr. Elias listened to Mr. Cohen’s background surrounding his many years of physical work in construction. Yaish is a self-described “non-complainer” and rose to each task, despite his disability. “What really tipped the scale for me in terms of treating Mr. Cohen was his strong character, his value system and personality. He also had a lot of family support from his wife and children.” For Dr. Elias, understanding his personal story was as important as understanding his injuries.
Dr. Elias wanted to help Yaish return to a normal life, which was not possible without surgery.
"We were looking for a medical institution that is not afraid of challenges or obstacles,” Yaish’s son, Amit explained. They researched all their options. “The orthopedic department at Assuta Ashdod, along with Dr. Elias, came up many times. And from our first meeting, there was no doubt that this was the team that could change Dad's life.”
The surgery was a success.
Dr. Elias has been working at Assuta Ashdod since it opened its doors in 2017 and is passionate about his position. He takes great pride in his ability to effect change and build a more humanistic medical model.
“Assuta’s approach offers innovation coupled with personalization and flexibility. It’s not a factory. I see fewer patients and can give each one better care. I have the time to prepare them fully for surgery so they can feel confident and ready. Patients feel more comfortable and secure, and as a result, outcomes are better.”
A detective who learns from both his patients and his fellow doctors, Dr. Shlomo Elias is accomplishing what every doctor strives to do.
He’s changing lives.