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MISSILE ATTACKS IN THE NEGEV UNDERSCORE THE NEED FOR A NEW NEONATAL INTENSIVE CARE UNIT AT SOROKA MEDICAL CENTER

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With over 600 missiles directed into Israel from Gaza in recent days, Soroka Medical
Center, 20 miles from Gaza, was called upon to serve as Israel’s Iron Dome for
Health. On Saturday night the hospital administrators were alerted to expect rockets
aimed at Be’er Sheva. The hospital staff took immediate action: Staff braced for mass
casualties and also relocated several of their most vulnerable units into temporary
sheltered locations where they could continue to operate while protected from
missile attack.

The extremely heart-wrenching decision was made to urgently relocate the Soroka
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (“NICU”) for the safety of the babies. Moving
premature babies is dangerous, but the risk of injury from missiles is intolerable.
This department is currently in an unprotected building, which means that the
entire unit must be relocated to a protected location as demanded by the security
situation. One of the most urgent needs at Soroka Medical Center today is to replace
this outmoded building with a new, protected NICU facility. This project is of vital
strategic importance to Soroka and to Israel.
Dr. Agneta Golan, the Chief of Soroka’s NICU states: “We have the detailed plans to
build a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that will be state-of-the-art in all respects,
large enough to meet our growing population while emphasizing the family-
integrated approach that we have pioneered. I will not rest until we secure funding
that will allow this project to proceed”. Even in the current over-crowded facility,
Soroka’s NICU is outstanding and world-renowned for it’s innovation and human
touch, serving the underserved and highly diverse population of the Negev and
helping babies born at great risk recover and thrive. The planned new building will
allow Soroka to expand their capacity and assure that all the babies of the Negev
requiring NICU hospitalization can be treated at Soroka, near their home.
In the midst of relocation preparations, an air raid siren went off. Over 50 tiny
babies and their mothers were rapidly moved from one unprotected area to a
slightly better protected one highlighted the impossible situation of the unprotected
NICU. The risk to the babies is significant, as many are connected to ventilators and
various electric medication pumps. The IDF, Hospital staff, patient families and
volunteers all participate in this fraught operation.

This glimpse of Soroka Medical Center behind the scenes reveals the unique
dimensions of the challenges   it faces and the vast service it provides to the Negev
region. American Friends of Soroka is leading a Mission to Israel on May30, to bring
support and encouragement to the Negev and visit Soroka Medical Center.

To help Soroka, contact Rachel Heisler Sheinfeld 914-725-9070 [email protected],
Soroka.org

Soroka Medical Center is Israel’s leading healthcare institution. Located in Be’er Sheva, it is the sole
medical center in the entire Negev, one of the country’s most diverse and fastest-growing areas. Soroka
serves over 1.2 million residents, including over 400,000 children, in a region that comprises 60 percent of
Israel’s land. With two medical schools, a proven record of producing groundbreaking research and life-

saving treatments and an extraordinary staff, Soroka offers exceptional healthcare for all, regardless of
race, religion, or politics. This unique institution, founded in 1959, exemplifies a deep commitment to
outstanding medical care, peaceful coexistence in action and medical research that has a global impact.

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