For five weeks doctors have been fighting to save the life of Sergeant Shachar Shalev, who was severely wounded in a firefight near Khan Younis. The paratrooper lost both his legs, and remains in severe condition, even after more than 1,000 blood transfusions.
Shalev, a resident of the Golan Heights, was wounded on July 23, in the incident which claimed the lives of Staff Sgt. Lee Matt, Staff Sgt. Shachar Dauber, and Lt. Paz Eliyahu.
The doctors were forced to amputate one of his legs while he was unconscious and on life support at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. About 10 days ago, when gangrene began to spread through his muscles, doctors had no choice but to amputate the second leg.
IDF forces in the Gaza Strip (Photo: Reuters)
Last Wednesday, Shalev was transferred to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. He remains on life support but has regained consciousness; while he has stopped hemorrhaging blood, he continues to receive blood platelets.
This week, Shalev's family called on the general public to donate platelets for the brave soldier - the response was so overwhelming that Rambam announced after three hours that no more donations were necessary.
"I am still receiving phone calls and messages from people who want to donate," said Shimon, Shalev's father.
Dr. Motti Klein, who leads the ER ward at Soroka, explained why there was a need for such a large donation of blood.
"The patient bled significantly and lost the ability to clot, leading to continuous bleeding. There is no doubt that such large amount of blood for one patient is exceptional, but his remaining alive is also exceptional," he said.
Magen David Adom blood banks received more than 60,000 donations during Operation Protective Edge. "The public's response to our pleas was tremendous, including in the areas under fire" said Prof. Ayelet Shenar, who is reponsible for MDA's blood bank services.