Saving Eyesight In The Time Of Corona

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The Eye Clinic at Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva in partnership with United Hatzalah and with the assistance of the municipality of Beer Sheva and the Lions Club of Israel has begun a program that allows elderly residents of Beer Sheva to receive their Avastin treatments close to their homes. 

This unique service is being offered to residents of Beer Sheva and the surrounding area who suffer from a variety of maladies that require Avastin treatments to receive the treatment without having to physically show up at the hospital by utilizing a mobile “treatment room” inside a United Hatzalah ambulance.

The ambulance travels to the home of the patient and the procedure is done inside the ambulance by members of the eye clinic. 

The treatment is normally an in-clinic procedure for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion.

Patients suffering from any of these illnesses are required to receive this treatment once a month.

Photo Credit: United Hatzalah. Staff from the eye clinic stand outside a United Hatzalah ambulance.

Without the treatment, patients will gradually lose their eyesight and may even go blind.

Due to complications with the Covid-19 Coronavirus, as many of the patients who require this treatment are high-risk, many patients are unable to come to the hospital clinic to receive the treatment.

Thus the need for a mobile treatment center with clinic staff that could come to the patients and provide the treatment for them at home.

This partnership is the first of its kind in Israel.

A doctor and nurse from Soroka’s eye clinic arrive at the patient’s home in one of United Hatzalah’s ambulances in a clean, safe, and sterile environment allowing the treatment for the patients to take place.

Senior Physician from the Optometry Center in Soroka Medical Center Dr. Noam Yankelevitz spoke about the special project: “On a regular basis, our eye clinic treats patients for a wide range of retinal diseases, utilising various methods, one of which is eye injections.’

“In an effort to prevent irreversible damage to the eyes of our patients who cannot come in person to the hospital during the current crisis we created this unique partnership that brings the medical clinic to the home of the patient themselves.’

“We perform the injection in the ambulance outside the patient’s home and bring this necessary service to them.”

Head of the Beer Sheva Chapter of United Hatzalah Eliah Tubul said: “In partnership with the Soroka Medical Center, we are enabling elderly patients and those with eye illnesses to continue receiving their treatments and are preventing the deterioration of their medical conditions.’

“The major challenge was maintaining the sterile environment surrounding the patient when they received the injection.’

“It is for this reason that we are using an ambulance which is thoroughly cleaned. We are making sure that it is as clean as an operating room.’

“We are very proud of this project and when the patients thank us for our help, we feel a tremendous amount of satisfaction.”

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