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Making a difference: A Pioneer at Assuta Ashdod

Every doctor has a story.

They show up to work every day with a history of challenges and successes, a long list of educational experiences, and a life behind them defining every decision they make and every action they take on behalf of their patients.

Dr. Noi Cohen-Ronen is no exception. When his mother got sick in 1998, he thought, “I could have done better for her.” That thought launched the young Noi on his journey to become a doctor.

He entered medical school at age 30, following his military assignment as an expert navigator and earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and technology. He chose pediatrics and pediatric emergency as his specialty and is now a senior pediatrician and deputy manager of the pediatric ER at Assuta Ashdod.

“Pediatrics is both fascinating and challenging for me because I have a double opportunity: to treat both the children and the parents. I also have to figure out how to do my job effectively without scaring my young patients, ensuring that from start-to-finish, it’s a positive experience.” Now a father of two sons and a daughter, Dr. Cohen-Ronen empathizes with parents.

“Being worried about your own child is an excruciating experience; I try to balance medical information with heart and emotion; it’s the only way to do my job right.”

Working in the emergency room takes those challenges to the next level. According to Dr. Cohen-Ronen, first impressions are everything and not just for the parents and the young patient. An emergency room physician needs to be quick-thinking and able to separate the essential information from the extraneous to make fast decisions regarding treatment. To achieve success, he must access all of his abilities and knowledge, both personal and professional, in a high-stakes environment.

For example, when 13-year-old Ofek Hajaj arrived at the emergency room due to a severe reaction to a spider bite, Dr. Cohen-Ronen commented to his junior staff members, “This is the first time I’ve ever encountered such a severe reaction to an arsenic spider bite. In most cases, and this spider isn’t rare in Israel, the body responds mildly, often with no need to seek medical treatment.” But Ofek’s severe reaction which included vomiting, fever, a rapid pulse and rash required quick thinking, more than the standard allergy medication, and further tests to assess and prevent damage to her bodily systems. Thanks to Dr. Ronen-Cohen’s comprehensive response, following treatment and a short hospitalization, Ofek was released, happy and healthy.

Dr. Cohen-Ronen is acutely aware of the need to work collaboratively for the sake of his patients.

“Our motto is teamwork. Every member of staff, from every level, works in harmony and with cooperation. Each has a part in the treatment and support of our patients.”

For Dr. Cohen-Ronen, being able to make a difference is what drove him to become a doctor and what motivated him to work at Assuta Ashdod when it opened its doors four years ago.

“I was one of the originals. We started with three senior doctors and a nurse, and built from there. We created protocols and each of us brought whatever he or she knew to the table. We were like pioneers. It was exciting and innovative, and it was ours. It still is.”

Now, four years later, Dr. Cohen-Ronen’s story continues. Following the challenges of COVID, he is now studying for his MBA so he can also make a difference in the world of healthcare systems and management.


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