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A year of Pandemic at Jerusalem’s Hospital with a Heart

08 March 2021

It has been over a year since the Covid 19 pandemic changed our world as we know it.  For Shaare Zedek, Jerusalem’s most central major hospital, the changes have been all encompassing and critical.

The hospital recently released its figures for 2020 and they are confronting.


Shaare Zedek Medical Center treated 3,432 Corona Patients across its specially designated Keter wards which it opened at the beginning of the pandemic in Israel.


The hospital provided 69,316 Corona Hospitalization Days and 1,225,284 hours of Assisted Respiration in the Corona Wards.


The pandemic affected every aspect of the hospital’s operations.

The focus on the pandemic caused a temporary reduction of services in some areas of the hospital as a result of government-imposed departmental closures.


There was also an overall reduction in patients due to lockdowns and other factors outside of the hospital’s control.  There will be long lasting medical effects from the pandemic which will potentially affect many areas of human health in years to come.


Nevertheless, Shaare Zedek continued to offer important medical services to the citizens of Jerusalem and surrounds.  During 2020, Shaare Zedek conducted 34,944 surgeries, and provided 846,017 outpatient visits.


There were 138,043 emergency department cases, 2,310 cardiac procedures and 1,325 neurological procedures.  This was despite the fact that many people delayed coming to hospital because of the fear of catching the virus.


With 1000 beds across 2 campuses, Shaare Zedek provided 406,936 hospitalization days and 262,289 imaging scans in its cutting edge medical imaging departments.


Shaare Zedek is one of the busiest maternity hospitals in the Western World, and in 2020 there were 22,150 babies babies born at the hospital, sometimes to Covid affected women.

One of these was Bat El Chamo, who tested positive for Corona, just prior to giving birth to her new born son last month.  She stood behind the glass partition of of the Corona Nursery at Shaare Zedek, at a safe distance and lovingly looked at her son.


Bat El said “While I know I have the option to the baby and hug him, I’m scared that I could infect him and he’s just so small… In a couple of days. I’ll be confirmed as recovered and then I’ll have the chance to be with him.”


Dr Allan Garfield, Chairman of the Australian Friends of Shaare Zedek Inc. says, “Shaare Zedek Medical Center has played a critical role in the response to the Covid 19 pandemic and will continue to be at the forefront of new discoveries relating to the ongoing effects of the virus.


“The effect of vaccinations is now changing the trajectory of the pandemic in Israel and Shaare Zedek will continue to provide crucial information and studies that will impact our health and that of Jerusalem’s citizens for years to come.”