BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (PIX11) – Dr. Doron Zahger works as a cardiologist at Soroka Medical Center, about 80 miles south of Tel Aviv. He has been on sabbatical in New Jersey and has had to watch from afar as his hospital reacts to mass casualties.
“Basically, without any previous warning, a massive torrent of casualties started arriving at the hospital,” said Zahger. “It’s ongoing as we speak, and it’s not projected to end anytime soon, so everybody’s working very, very hard and performing miracles.”
Zahger said the hospital saw more than 800 patients in the 24 hours after the Oct. 7 attacks, never seeing more than a hundred in a day before.
“Bear in mind that a number of health care professionals have been recruited to the army,” said Zahger. “So there’s less personnel to do the regular work.”
In addition to the need for more health care workers, doctors in Israel say they are finding that patients are more reluctant now to visit their doctors for routine care, similar to what they saw during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zahger plans to return to Israel in a few weeks, unable to get an earlier flight. He said he has tried to contact some of his cardio patients via email after the attacks, but he has yet to hear back from any of them.
His daughter, Dalia Zahger Levy, is the director of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.
“If we have individuals within this country who believe this is just, who believe this is right, we’re in a big problem,” said Levy.
Hurt by the hatred, something that’s endured long before Saturday’s attacks, Levy said she couldn’t be more grateful for health care workers putting their safety on the line to save lives.
“I think health care workers in Israel right now are making miracles happen,” said Levy.