Israeli doctors are first to treat Ukrainian refugees – from afar

Physicians from Sheba Hospital use Israeli tech to examine ultrasounds, analyze blood tests and perform physical check-ups for patients on the Moldovan border.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israeli doctors became the first foreigners to help treat Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, most of them without even leaving home, thanks to their use of the latest telemedicine techniques.

On Saturday night, Sheba Beyond, the virtual hospital established by the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in central Israel, sent its CTO, Sarit Lerner, to the border city of Chișinău, Moldova’s capital. She came with a 15-member United Hatzalah team of doctors, EMTs, paramedics and volunteers from its Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit.

More than 15,000 mostly women and children had already fled over this particular border from their war-torn homeland after Russia invaded just over a week ago. According to reports, the number has grown tremendously since then, with as many as 70,000 per day crossing the border.

Many are suffering from the extreme cold, as they fled with only the clothes on their backs, and hunger, since their food ran out before they managed to reach safety. But many others need serious medical care, whether due to pre-existing conditions or problems that ensued as a result of their exhausting and dangerous trip.

As Sheba Beyond head Galia Barkai explained right before takeoff, Lerner was bringing “cutting edge technologies that will help communicate with Sheba’s experts… help us do physical examinations, ultrasound, even point-of-care blood tests.”

Most of the devices that are allowing the remote specialists to diagnose issues in real time, enabling immediate treatment of injuries or illnesses, are Israeli inventions.

As reported by Israel21C, one of them is the Tytocare remote exam kit, the world’s first all-in-one device that can check patients’ vital signs as well as their lungs, heart, ears, throat, abdomen and skin.

Biobeat’s wrist- and chest-monitors keep continuous track of 13 different vital signs, including those that can tell if someone is in danger of a heart attack or stroke.

A third device, Pulsenmore, is a handheld ultrasound that can examine pregnant women and send their scans to be checked by Israeli OB/GYNs via a smartphone application.

The fourth is American-made — the i-STAT blood analyzer created by Abbott Labs. About the size of a large TV remote, it can check patients’ blood chemistry on the spot.

The team began working Monday, as it took over 24 hours reach the site and set up their makeshift field hospital and clinic.

“I have been treating everyone. There have been pregnant mothers and elderly men and women suffering from a range of ailments caused by the long and incredibly stressful journey to cross the border,” Prof. Gadi Segal, Sheba’s head of internal telemedicine, told imes of Israel.

“There have been children and chronic patients in need of urgent advanced blood tests,” he added. “All of them are given care from my office in Sheba.”

The United Hatzalah team is working in coordination with Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the Jewish community, who are supplying volunteers and the space for a command center in a local synagogue. Some 30 more Hatzalah volunteers are expected to join the team in the coming days.