Hundreds of doctors make home visits to Holocaust survivors – on a full-time basis

For the past nine months, in the midst of the Corona epidemic, some 600 doctors and physicians across the country have been doing the work, young interns, senior specialists and department heads alike, doing sacred work away from the media and on a full-time basis. They make hundreds of home visits and receive patients in private clinics for Holocaust survivors who need accessible and free medical care.

The fear of many among the elderly population to leave the house for medical treatment in the shadow of the corona, along with the sometimes too long waiting in line for specialist medicine or medical advice, raised the need for such an initiative, a need that existed long before the plague broke out.

The project, which started with a Facebook post by a doctor who came up with the idea and received a huge response from the medical community, is now an organization called “For Their Sake”, or in its full name “For Their Saints – Doctors for Holocaust Survivors” from Partners for Life and relies solely on donations and volunteer work .

The chairman and founder of the association is Dr. Tamara Kolitz, who recently completed an internship in internal medicine and on her own initiative made free home visits to Holocaust survivors who needed medical treatment, but in the first wave of the epidemic in April it, like many other doctors in the field, increased.

In the Facebook group, she asked to check the possibility of replacing her on one of the days when she had three home visits, and came up with the idea of ​​establishing a dedicated team of volunteer doctors. “There was a crazy and wonderful response. I was surprised and excited by the hundreds of positive responses I received.”

Dr. Tamara Kolitz (Photo: Inbal Marmari)

With the help of Kolitz’s partner in the project, Moti Sonnenfeld from the Danieli Foundation, the road to the organization was fast. The group has set up a call center staffed by young doctors who donate their hours on the phone at their homes to receive inquiries from Holocaust survivors, and at the same time contacted local welfare departments and aid organizations for the elderly and Holocaust survivors to advertise the community.

Dr. Orly Barak-Tzafrir, a geriatric doctor and director of the geriatric department at Ichilov Medical Center, said: “I read about ‘for them’ by chance on Facebook, and the first thought that went through my mind was ‘how did they not think of it before’. I remember with reverence the first time as a medical student, when a patient rolled up her sleeve for a blood test and revealed the number on her arm. “

“I realized that the narrator may have been exposed relatively easily but he is far from revealing the story behind it. Only when you delve deeper into conversations and memories are the pain, fear and loss that have accompanied their lives ever since. Volunteering for the project is a thank you to Holocaust survivors for their suffering and steadfastness.”

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