Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Ellul 5763 - September 17, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Father and Daughter Buried the Day of Her Wedding
by Yated Ne'eman Staff and Betzalel Kahn

Dr. David Applebaum and his daughter Nava, murdered in the terrorist attack on a Jerusalem cafe last week, were buried on the day her wedding was scheduled, one of the most tragic stories the city has known during the terrorist attacks of the past few years.

Dr. David Applebaum Hy'd, director of the emergency room at Shaarei Tzedek, the man who has seen hundreds of injury victims from bomb attacks, was in the coffeehouse when the terrorist arrived. He was sitting with his 20-year-old daughter Nava, on the night before her wedding. Friends said that he rarely went to such places, but made an exception to spend time with his daughter the night before her wedding.

Eli Bir, chief of Hatzolo Jerusalem, arrived at the scene minutes after the explosion. "I saw the people who were lying there at the entrance to the restaurant," he later related with difficulty. "There was great commotion all around. I approached the first person lying mangled on the ground in front of me to treat him and saw that he already had no pulse. A doctor standing nearby shouted toward me, `He's dead, keep going.' I glanced back at him and saw a familiar face. I thought to myself, `That's Dr. Applebaum?!' And then I said, `No, it can't be. He's at Shaarei Tzedek right now, saving people's lives.' Then I continued on, helping treat the injured.

"A few minutes later, once the victims had been evacuated from the scene, I went up to the Magen David Adom doctor who pronounced him dead and asked if that had been Dr. Applebaum. With tears in his eyes he said yes. Even now I can't believe it. A man who saved so many lives during his short lifetime was murdered in such a way, and what's more just a day before the wedding of his daughter, who was murdered as well. For me that was the hardest thing about this incident." The physician who pronounced Dr. Applebaum dead was Dr. Yitzchak Glick of Efrat, a good friend of the deceased.

Eli Bir was not the only one deeply affected. Every Hatzoloh or Magen David Adom volunteer or Shaarei Tzedek emergency- room worker knew Dr. Applebaum. Soon after the attack, word began to circulate around the emergency room that its director was among those killed. His absence from the emergency room helped confirm the rumor since he was always on hand to help treat the wounded following terrorist attacks. Not only the injured who arrived at Shaarei Tzedek were crying, but the staff as well. Nevertheless they treated the trauma patients with their usual dedication.

Dr. Applebaum's son recounts that he went to sleep early so he would be well-rested at the wedding. "All of a sudden I heard ambulances. I had a bad feeling. I ran to the site of the attack and didn't find them. I went to the hospital because I felt my father would know what happened. He always knew." The rest of the family also arrived at the emergency room, but did not find him there. Or his daughter. The groom- to-be passed out when he heard the news.

Dr. Applebaum Hy'd was an observant Jew. He was the gabbai of the beis knesses in the neighborhood where he lived. The day before the attack he returned from New York, after delivering a series of lectures about how the emergency room at Shaarei Tzedek organizes itself to deal with terror attacks.

Dr. Applebaum was one of Israel's leading experts on emergency medicine. He worked at Shaarei Tzedek for many years and more than ten years ago he set up TEREM, a sort of preliminary emergency room, at Magen David Adom's Jerusalem headquarters.

Noting that the capital's MDA station was poorly run and that people usually had to wait hours for care, he decided to set up a privately owned model for care in the community. With investors, he bought a section of the MDA station and established Terem in Romema.

He proved that treating those with broken arms, irregular heart beats, infections, and other urgent but not necessarily serious conditions outside of hospitals could save the health system tens of millions of dollars a year. This reduces the queues in hospital emergency rooms.

Today, more than 90 percent of Terem patients go home happy after swift treatment. It was recently reported that the average time a patient spends in Terem, from initial entry until leaving, is only 69 minutes. His urgent care standards have inspired a cadre of other U.S. board-trained physicians in the specialty, and together they have helped elevate the level of services all around the country.

Thousands of people owe their lives to him since most Magen David Adom volunteers and other emergency personnel took the first-aid courses he taught. One year ago he was asked to come back to Shaarei Tzedek as director of the emergency room.

"He would appear at the site of every attack, volunteer, get in the ambulances to evacuate the injured to the emergency room," said Dr. Kobi Assaf, director of the emergency room at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital, also in Jerusalem.

Once he took over the emergency room at Shaarei Tzedek, he was always the first one there after an attack.

In Shaare Zedek Hospital's emergency department in June, he had an erasable board marked with black lines on which every new arrival's initials were listed along with arrival time, symptoms, names of doctors who treated him, tests ordered, and other details. This seemingly simple setup, which he innovated, allowed harried staff members to absorb information about their patients at a glance, letting them know of any bottlenecks or anyone who had fallen between the cracks.

He had recently introduced a digital scoreboard that stored and displayed this information in real time. Hooked up to the computer system and destined to replace the erasable board, the technology he developed made him very proud.

Born in Detroit, raised and educated in Cleveland, Applebaum came to Israel in 1981. He had received rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University, and was a student of the late Rabbi Aharon Soloveitchik.

Dr. David Applebaum and his daughter Nava, Hy'd, were buried at Har Hamenuchos following a levaya attended by thousands. His father-in-law, Rabbi S. Spero of Cleveland, eulogized the slain physician and his daughter.


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