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Never left in the dark: How Assuta Ashdod cares for its young patients and their parents

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

“When Samson Assuta Ashdod opened its doors in 2017, I don’t think there was a single citizen of Ashdod who wasn’t thrilled. It was such a relief.”

Reut Malka remembers.

As a child, when she had an acute medical issue, her family would have to travel 35 minutes to the emergency room at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. Reut Malka’s husband, Avishair, also a lifetime citizen of Ashdod, remembers his days as a volunteer with MADA, Israel’s ambulance corps. Assuta Ashdod didn’t exist then, so he helped transport his patients to either Barzilai or Kaplan hospitals, both of which are located at least half an hour away.

“There are a lot of stories about people who suddenly took a turn for the worse and passed away due to the travel time. Had the journey been shorter, the outcomes would have been better.”

Reut Malka and Avishair recently found out first-hand just how special Assuta Ashdod is.

Last summer, their 10-month old son Kerem wasn’t feeling well. His twin brother had a cold, but Kerem developed a fever and had trouble breathing. His mother, Reut Malka, brought him straight to the pediatrician. That was on a Tuesday.

By Friday, he still had a fever and there was no doctor available in their town of Sderot. So they traveled to Ashdod to another doctor who sent Kerem straight to the emergency room at Assuta Ashdod due to respiratory distress.

At that time, his oxygen saturation level was borderline sufficient at 92.

When they arrived at the emergency room, they were admitted immediately and Kerem was placed right next to the nurse’s station where he received inhalation treatments.

Avishair stayed with Kerem in the hospital over Shabbat.

When Reut Malka arrived to visit, by foot, on Shabbat afternoon, she was shocked. The treatments were excellent, but despite them, Kerem had taken a turn for the worse.

”He was attached to so many machines and tubes. How did this happen in less than a day!?”

Kerem’s saturation suddenly dropped to 84, and both parents were worried.

The ICU nurses came immediately, stabilized him, and then transferred Kerem to the pediatric ICU. Reut Malka stared at the oxygen monitor all night, terrified. By Sunday, Kerem’s right lung was filled with fluids. But once the nurses drained it, his condition quickly improved. He received more inhalation treatments, coupled with steroids, and was soon returned to the regular pediatric department where he remained for an extended hospital stay.

“The nurses were watching him all the time and were in constant communication with us. They never left us in the dark,” says Reut Malka.

For parents, nothing is more valuable than knowing what’s going on with their child.

“Other people told me how professional the Assuta Ashdod staff was, so I expected professionalism and expertise. But what we found was something more. The care is so warm and personalized, it feels like a private hospital.” Avishair and Reut Malka were confident that the staff could handle any complication that cropped up, big or small. And they did.

At 18 months, Kerem is now walking and hitting all the developmental milestones just like his twin brother. He recently returned to Assuta Ashdod where his doctor diagnosed him with asthma. Now, the staff is teaching Avishair and Reut Malka how to properly care for him.

For Reut Malka and Avishair, Assuta Ashdod is simply a blessing. They turned to the hospital because of the location, but ultimately received infinitely more than a local resource.


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