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JERUSALEM —Hadassah Medical Center is known as “The Bubble” — a place where both Jews and Arabs receive lifesaving treatment, work alongside each other and comfort the grieving.
Amid escalating violence, including nearly daily stabbings of Jews by Palestinians, two doctors have come to epitomize this cooperation: Professor Ahmed Eid, head of surgery, and Elchanan Fried, who’s in charge of intensive care.
Eid is a Muslim who was born in the Arab village of Dabburiya in northern Israel, and Fried is a Jew who grew up in Petah Tikva near Tel Aviv. Dubbed "Eid and Fried” inside the Jerusalem hospital, the two admit they don't always agree.
“We have a lot of professional disagreements but we don’t use knives,” Eid, 65, quips and Fried bursts out laughing.
One recent Friday was no laughing matter. A 13-year-old Israeli had been rushed to the hospital after being stabbed in nearby Pisgat Ze’ev.
“Only 30 seconds were the difference between life and death,” 41-year-old Fried said. “He arrived with no pulse.”
Eid’s team determined the boy had a slim chance of surviving but managed to stabilize his condition. Fried then rushed in to operate.
The teen survived.
“When the patients arrive on the stretcher we don’t know their names or nationality, we try to do our best whoever the patient is.”
Hadassah has been at the center of recent violence. Eleven Israelis have been killed in stabbings, shootings or other attacks since the beginning of October. Meanwhile, at least 69 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces, including 42 who Israel says were attackers.
It isn’t only the innocent who receive treatment at Hadassah. A day before the 13-year-old was rushed to the hospital, the team treated a man who was shot after stabbing several people in Jerusalem.
“He was in bad condition and unfortunately we couldn’t save his life,” said Eid. “We just do our job and don’t think who is behind the attack.”
But the doctors and others who work in the hospital don’t distinguish between nationalities and races, said Fried.
“When the patients arrive on the stretcher we don’t know their names or nationality, we try to do our best whoever the patient is,” he said.
“We don’t have a special recipe to handle this situation — we just do it,” added Eid.