TORONTO — Canadian Friends of Meir Medical Center is honouring Dr. Bernard Goldman, a Toronto heart surgeon and Shirley Anne Haber, an activist, at its 2008 Tribute Dinner, to be held May 28 at Shaarei Shomayim Congregation.
The medical centre, located in Kfar Saba, about five kilometres from the Arab village of Kalkalia and 30 kilometres northeast of Tel Aviv, is the seventh largest general hospital in Israel. It’s affiliated with the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.
Funds raised at the dinner will go to the centre’s intensive care unit (ICU), which with its six beds, now admits and treats about 600 critically ill patients a year.
Prof. Brian Fredman, chair of the the Meir Medical Centre’s department of anesthesiology, critical care and pain management, said from Israel that the hospital provides medical services to a population of 700,000.
“Due to improved medical capabilities, increase longevity and intifadah-related trauma, our current intensive care facility is unable to cope with the ever-increasing patient load. As a result, patients are often denied intensive care admission.”
For some years, he said, the hospital has been making plans to relocate its ICU to a larger facility, and to that end, space was designated, architectural plans were drawn up, and a budget allocated.
“Accepting the fact that there are no public funds available for developing essential medical services, we are forced to seek help from friends who have both financial means and the wish to improve the plight of the simple citizens of the State of Israel,” Fredman said.
Considering that the lack of adequate ICU facilities compromises the treatment that patients receive, he said, it was decided to begin the building process despite the hospital’s inability to finish the project.
“As of now, the infrastructure is complete, but without additional funds, we are unable to continue,” he said.
Goldman, who has operated, taught or lectured in a number of Israeli hospitals, said he visits the country often and knows virtually all its heart surgeons. “I am intrigued with the Meir Medical Centre, because it took in a huge influx of patients during the  Lebanon war. The needs of the emergency department are unique. I am happy to stand for [this] hospital and recruit support.”
Haber, who for seven years has devoted herself to countering anti-Israel bias in the media, said the hospital plays a crucial role in the life of Israel. “Located across from an Arab community and just north of Tel Aviv, it deals with Arabs and Israelis. I am totally inspired by the hospital, and the work it does.”
Call the Canadian Friends of Meir Medical Centre at 905-770-5118.