Torah Thinkers Forum

Health Care in Israel

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My wife and I were lucky to move to Israel before Obamacare took effect, and before Hurricane Sandy hit the New York/New Jersey region. I think there must be some connection between those two events, but I haven't quite figured it out yet. :-)

And while we don't have to worry about hurricanes in Israel, we still have to be concerned about health care. But over the three years that we have been here, we have  been very satisfied with the health care system and have very few concerns about it.

An example of the efficiency of the system is the care that my mother-in-law receives. She is 93 and has suffered a number of strokes in the past few years, leaving her incapacitated. There is a process in place that allows for foreign workers (in the health care field they are mainly Filipinos) to work in the country at government regulated rates and with defined benefits. My mother-in-law has a wonderful caring one who is with her 24/7 (with a few hours time off every day that is covered by my wife) to take care of her daily needs.

A doctor, nurse, and various therapists are available to be called to her home to provide medical care. The doctor did an initial workup to determine what medications are necessary, and is available by phone for any questions and does provide prescription refills upon request (that can be picked up the next day at a local clinic).  As my mother-in-law is a holocaust survivor, prescriptions are filled at a local pharmacy free of charge. Physical and occupational therapists also visited to prescribe the necessary equipment for her home health care and to provide various therapies.

There is a wonderful non-profit organization called Yad Sarah that provides short term loans of small medical equipment for home use. For long term use and for larger equipment such as a hospital bed, cushioned wheel chair, and a lift from bed to chair, the Ministry of Health provides the equipment to her at a 90% discount to cost. Other non-profits organizations provide free ambulance transportation for scheduled procedures at hospitals, and for emergencies Hatzalah personnel come to the home very quickly in their ubiquitous motorcycles. 

So most of our contact with the health system aside for our own regularly scheduled doctor visits has been that of the care for my mother-in-law. That is, until this past week.

We have our daughter, Aviva, her husband and two small boys, ages 5 and 2, staying with us now on a two week visit from Chicago. This past Shabbat, my wife, Iris, was carrying some food back to the kitchen from the dining room, when she stepped on a little toy car that had been left on the floor and went for quite a ride. She landed on our stone floor, trying to brace her fall with her right hand. She immediately felt a lot of pain, and even after icing her hand and wrist realized that she had suffered more than a bruise.

I walked over with her a few blocks to Terem, an emergency immediate care clinic. The receptionist saw us immediately and recorded the information from her health care card. Within another two minutes we were called in to meet a paramedic who took down  Iris' medical history and the cause of our visit to the clinic. Right afterwards Iris was seen by an Orthopedic doctor (who just happened to be an Arab). His diagnosis was that her wrist was broken. After another very short wait, the wrist was X-rayed, and about two minutes later the doctor was reading the picture and verified that her radial wrist bone had a displaced fracture.

He gave her a (Novocain?) shot to the wrist, and then yanked on her hand (which was pretty painful, as per Iris' reaction) which put the bone back in place. He then plastered on a cast and had her go for another X-ray which was done within another few minutes. After he verified that the bone was indeed reset correctly, he discharged Iris and told her to see him at the main clinic in town on Thursday morning for a followup.

And we left the clinic less than an hour after we first entered it!

On Thursday Iris went to the clinic to see the doctor. This time she did have to wait considerably longer to see him as the visit was squeezed in between patients who already has scheduled appointments. He had another X-ray done, was satisfied with her progress, and told her to schedule another follow up in three weeks.

 

So all in all we are very satisfied with health care in Israel. In another 5 weeks Iris is scheduled to have the cast removed, and we hope that from then on we will only need preventative health care visits. But it is nice to know that in an emergency, there is an efficient system in place here to care for everyone's needs. 

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COM_EASYBLOG_GUEST Friday, 16 November 2018
Last updated on: 11/16/2018
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