THE POWER OF BELIEF

“Oh, God, Thou has appointed me to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures; here am I ready for my vocation and now I turn unto my calling.”

- Oath of Maimonides

Dear friends,

    Over the years, I have gotten to know many special patients who mean the world to me. They search for truth and healing and I hope and pray that my experience, knowledge, and devotion can serve them well. There is no greater honor in life for me than walking alongside you who are suffering and on the road to recovery.

    I have always believed that everything in life is possible…that in spite of obstacles and barriers, we can always achieve our goals and our dreams. Born and raised to an immigrant family and being the son of an air force pilot and presidential candidate, forced our family to live and learn in multiple cities and continents. This made me fortunate to have had a diversified education and to see a world filled with many cultural, social, and spiritual beliefs.

    I was also blessed with an amazing teacher, “Kika”, the beautiful soul wearing glasses in the photo above. She taught my class of four students for many years and saw the potential in me before many others did. Most importantly, she helped me realize what I can become. This came true for me after serving in the United Nation’s Multinational Force and Observers stationed at the Sinai Peninsula when I was 16 years old and then receiving my degree in medicine at 23 years of age.

    While serving with the MFO in Sinai Peninsula, we received the Noble Peace Prize for our peacekeeping work at the border between Egypt and Israel and for helping “conduct the affairs of nations in a more peaceful and just manner.” Due to the remoteness and desolation of the region as well as security concerns, we had little access to internet. I spent many nights sleeping in the desert observing stars in the same area where David defeated Goliath; it is also where I saved a man’s life.

    I was waiting at a bus stop in a small village near the city of Be’er Sheva, when I noticed a car and what seemed to be a small fire near its fuel tank. I ran to stop the driver, who was confused initially, grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him out of the car before it burst into flames. The accident nearly took our lives, but always reminds me that our presence on this Earth can make a difference.

    After returning home from deployment, I was ready to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I attended the New Granada Military School of Medicine and was soon providing compulsory medical services in underprivileged rural areas; this is where I observed a miracle and understood medicine was my calling in life.

    It was at San José Hospital, located in a rural village situated on the mountains of Colombia, when I attended a 15-year-old patient who was found in labor at only 30 weeks of gestation. The baby was born with underdeveloped lungs as a result of the delivery having many complications; he was unable to breathe. The other attending doctor, who was the Director of the Hospital, believed the baby had no chance of survival and ordered us to not resuscitate. The mother, however, grabbed my arm and pleaded with me to save her child.

    Guided by the mother’s wish and my belief in life, I went against the doctor’s orders and took the baby in my arms to the room used for neonatal resuscitation. On the way, my two-day, sleepless nights of work manifested itself through a pain in my chest that radiated throughout my body. In that moment, however, I felt the power, responsibility, and determination to care for this life, and I asked the Almighty for the knowledge and insight to handle the situation. With tears in my eyes, I took a deep breath and started to put into practice all my clinical knowledge. I first performed all the basic neonatal CPR procedures I knew, including the use of a suctioning machine to aspirate the baby’s airway before doing intubation, and administration of fluids, antibiotics, and other medications via umbilical catheter, as well as the use of a CPAP device I constructed from IV tubing and buretrol (I have to admit that this was a medical invention taught to me at another rural hospital by a neonatologist.) After doing everything I could for this baby, what happened next was truly a miracle. I observed the reflection of G*d as He gave the child his first breath of life.