03.27.2011 – Coexistence in maternity ward

As tensions mount on border, Palestinian woman from Gaza and Israeli woman from Gaza vicinity kibbutz lie side by side at Rehovot hospital after giving birth to their baby girls

Meital Yasur Beit-Or

Published: 03.27.11, 07:24 / Israel Culture

Complex Israeli reality creates unusual meeting: On the backdrop of the Israel border, a Palestinian woman from the Gaza Strip and an Israeli resident of a Gaza vicinity kibbutz found themselves last week hospitalized in the same room at the Kaplan Medical Center’s maternity ward.

The Palestinian woman, Naama Athoua of Jabaliya, was rushed to the Rehovot hospital last Sunday at the end of the ninth month of her pregnancy in a life-endangering situation.

Dr. Avi Metzkel, head of the hospital’s high-risk pregnancy unit, explained that Naama arrived with a very low number of platelets, which could have led to a hemorrhage and put the life of the mother and fetus in danger.

“The patient was brought to Kaplan due to the fact that she was unable to receive proper care in the Strip at the end of her pregnancy,” said Dr. Metzkel. “We began with aggressive treatment, and within two days the number of platelets reached normal values and she went into labor without causing the fetus any distress.

“The baby girl was born in a completely normal delivery, and at the moment the mother’s condition is stable and she is receiving medication allowing her to breastfeed. Naama will soon be discharged back to Gaza, with instructions for continued treatment.”

Athoua gave birth to her sixth daughter, Mina, and was hospitalized in Kaplan’s maternity ward. Later in the week she was joined by Yael Frenkel of Kibbutz Sa’ad in the Gaza vicinity, who gave birth to her first daughter.

Several minutes after being transferred with her baby from the delivery room to the maternity ward, Frenkel discovered that her roommate was a neighbor from Gaza. “The kibbutz is really close to Gaza, and we have minimal contact with our neighbors from the Strip,” she said.

“My husband serves as the kibbutz’s security coordinator, and unfortunately some rockets have been fired into our community from the Gaza area in the past. The irony of faith is that while I was in the room with Naama Athoua, my husband’s parents informed me that a rocket hit their home in Beersheba. Nonetheless, a baby is a baby, and I’m glad that the Kaplan medical staff managed to save the life of Naama and her baby girl.”

“The reality outside the maternity ward had no effect on the good and relaxed atmosphere between the two women in the room. We nurses tried to provide a pleasant and homelike atmosphere,” added nurse Larisa Kolash