For Dr. Ami Neuberger, attending physician in the Infectious Diseases Unit at Rambam Healthcare Campus in Haifa, work during the pandemic has been an unusual experience.
"We are treating a woman in my old parking spot," he said of the underground war converted from a garage to accommodate the growing number of people in need of care.
"I was listening to her speaking with her family, wheezing as she was trying to catch her breath and telling them she was fine. When I asked if she would not prefer that I call to update them, she said that a call from a doctor would just give them a fright."
He said he was awed by work being done by this group made up of Jews and Arabs from different backgrounds, "who work together in total dedication" to help their patients.
"A world away from the bickering in Israeli society, outside, it seems our parking garage is the only normal place on earth," he said.
"You cannot but feel compassion for these patients who are alone, without their families around them, and frightened as they struggle for breath," he said.
"We must make sure our patients don’t die, don't suffer long term complications from the disease and leave the hospital without being scarred emotionally for life."
Neuberger concedes that this is true in all hospitals, but more so now with the coronavirus pandemic raging and so many people seriously ill with COVID-19.
"Our patients' suffering just highlights the importance of what we do as well as the need to avoid infection. After all that is not so complicated to do," he said.
"We are all learning more about the disease everyday and try to improve our ability to treat it," he said.
"I no longer have the confidence I had as a doctor that had seen everything. It is rewarding work but comes with a lot of pressure and is emotionally taxing. I have to remain very vigilant not to make any mistake or cause any harm."
Neuberger also worries about the rest of his team.
"I try to keep an eye on the younger doctors and the nursing staff to see who might need a breather away from the ward. I worry about them."