Professor Avi Rivkind, head of the department of surgery at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, is the man on standby to operate on President Barak Obama should he be hurt during his stay in Israel.
Even with this great responsibility, Rivkind is not nervous or excited, he explains, because of the fact that Obama is a young and healthy president. “If, God forbid, something happens, or he is brought here, we are the backup medical team. The president arrives with his own team of doctors and nurses.
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But in the event that he needs serious care, there is an operating room at-the-ready, in a trauma unit, which was built under the supervision of the Shin Bet. The Americans were here and examined the equipment, the buildings and the machines.”
Rivkind at the hospital (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Regardless of what happens, the hospital has set aside a special private room. “Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was cared for in it twice, Rehavam Zeevi was treated there after he was hurt.
During his visit to Israel, the Prince of Thailand was involved in a car accident and was treated there,” Rivkind said. He then emphasized, “The room is not only for them, during day-to-day, we care for patients there.”
“I didn’t receive any special instructions,” Rivkind added, noting he was required to stay on-call in the capital and thus, is missing the wedding of one of his medical residents up north.
“There is no special scenario and I wasn’t briefed regarding his medical condition. He is a healthy man and we hope he remains that way.”
This isn’t the first time Rivkind is an active participant in the visit of a US president. “During the visit of Bill Clinton, I personally accompanied him throughout the country. When President Bush was here, it worked the same way. At the moment, there is no concern or excitement. If he doesn’t come to the hospital – and let's hope he doesn't – we will not meet.”
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