by Daniel Ben-Tal, israel21c.org
Dr. Ian Miskin, one of Israel's foremost infectious disease specialists, admits it will take time for him to fully internalize his experiences in post-earthquake Haiti.
For two weeks he was totally immersed in aiding rescue missions and treating survivors rescued from the rubble.
There were some uplifting experiences, he says, such as when he helped to treat a child who had been rescued after being trapped under debris for a full week, but he also witnessed many deaths. It was like nothing he had seen before.
"It was an unexpected call-up," the 53-year-old British-born doctor, who has lived in Israel since age 14, tells ISRAEL21c "A colleague in infectious diseases asked if I wanted to go. I called my wife [who is a pediatrician] and she said yes, so I went. Within two hours I was on the list. We met at five o'clock that evening at Tel Hashomer Hospital for a briefing, then I went home to prepare and early the following morning turned up with two weeks' worth of clothes. We all had [immunization] shots, heard a lecture about the situation and were briefed about the operation."
Miskin, who spends about a month each year in uniform as an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) doctor in the reserves, knew only two members of the delegation beforehand. "We were introduced to each other then got to work. Eighty percent were soldiers serving in the standing army. I was one of about a dozen reservists. Somehow, within 24 hours all the equipment was loaded on a jumbo for the long flight. By the time we arrived at the airport, we were really tired."
The 200-strong team used the 16-hour flight on an El Al plane to recharge its batteries. "The first-class section was set aside for sleeping. We originally planned to fly to Santa Domingo - only two hours out we learned that we could land in Port-au-Prince."
Click here to continue reading this article on Israel21C.org