The ongoing war with Hamas has prompted many doctors from around the world, particularly from the United States, to leave everything behind and come to Israel to volunteer in its hospitals. Among these selfless medical professionals are former Israelis currently working in US hospitals.
So far, five doctors specializing in intensive care and anesthesia from renowned medical institutions in Boston, known as the “Mecca” of medicine, have volunteered at the Galilee Medical Center.
One of these doctors is Dr. Rona Spector, a specialist in thoracic surgery.
From the Mecca of medicine, an Israeli doctor comes home to volunteer
Originally from Givatayim, Spector previously worked at Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva before moving to the United States. She underwent subspecialty training in thoracic surgery at the Brigham And Women’s Hospital Medical Center, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Over the past 14 years, she has served in various medical centers in Boston. During her sub-specialty training, she crossed paths with Dr. Moshe Lapidot, who now serves as the director of the thoracic surgery unit at the Galilee Medical Center.
“As soon as I heard about the situation in Israel, I reached out to Dr. Lapidot to ask if he and his family were safe. I offered my assistance, and without hesitation, I got on a flight to Israel, leaving behind my husband, an Israeli doctor, and our two children, aged 13 and 11. Israel is my country, and I consider it not just a privilege but also a duty to come here and volunteer,” Spector said.
Impressed by the Galilee Medical Center, Spector commended its professionalism and the warm welcome she received from its dedicated staff. Working alongside Lapidot has been fruitful and excellent, making her feel that she is making a significant impact during these challenging days.
Despite being accustomed to state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure in the US, she said she learns a great deal from Lapidot and the Nahariya-based hospital.
“A doctor, especially a surgeon, who claims to have nothing left to learn from others is simply arrogant. I believe in constantly learning from everyone,” Spector reflected. “Dr. Lapidot’s unique approach to thoracic surgery has fascinated me, and I am confident that the knowledge gained here in Nahariya will benefit me in my future work at the hospital in Boston.”
A WhatsApp group for dozens of Israeli doctors working in Boston hospitals, most of whom are affiliated with Harvard University Medical School, was formed on October 7.
“The Israeli doctors in the group expressed great concern and distress over the situation in Israel. Many of them seriously considered leaving everything behind to volunteer in different hospitals here. I immediately contacted my family in Israel to make sure they were safe,” she reveals.
Although Spector’s commitment to Tufts Medical Center limits her stay in Israel to a short period, she does not rule out the possibility of returning in the future if the need arises. “Wherever I work, Israel will always be my home, and I have fallen in love with the Galilee Medical Center,” she said.
Prof. Masad Barhoum, the director of the Galilee Medical Center, expressed his gratitude to these volunteer doctors, recognizing their selflessness in leaving behind their regular lives and families to give their all in Israel.
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