Photo: The Israeli team gets to work in Italy. Courtesy Sharon Yaniv-Sheba Medical Center
By Ben Horodenker
A team of 21 experienced medical staff from Sheba Medical Center flew on a 10-day mission to northern Italy on Dec. 1 to help the local hospitals fight a serious second wave COVID crisis. The delegation was led by Prof. Elhanan Bar-On, head of the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine at Sheba. This is the first time that Sheba has sent an experienced coronavirus team abroad to assist another nation in need.
Following a significant increase in the number of severely ill patients, the Piedmont authorities in northern Italy had reached out to Israel through the Health and Foreign Affairs ministries.
The Piedmont region has seen over 169,000 COVID cases as of Dec. 1, including over 4,600 hospitalized and 377 in intensive care. The Sheba team began on Thursday morning, Dec. 3, to treat patients at the Ospedale Michele E. Pietro Ferrero hospital in Piedmont, taking some of the pressure off the local staff.
“We are the only hospital in the region, and one of the very few from the entire world to send a delegation,” said Prof. Bar-On. “We will be joining hands and working shoulder to shoulder with Italian medical staff to save lives and make a better world,” he said.
Prof. Bar-On has participated in numerous humanitarian aid missions throughout the years, following earthquakes and other disasters in India, Haiti, Nepal, Turkey, the Philippines and more. Since Sheba founded the Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response in 2017, missions have been sent to the Palestinian Authority as well as all over the world.