Why Ellay is a Superwoman

June 14, 2024

Kfar Aza, a kibbutz adjacent to northern Gaza, was one of the major targets of the Hamas terrorist invasion. Over 10% of the 765 residents were murdered or taken hostage.

Ellay and Ariel Golan, and their 18-month-old daughter Yael were in the saferoom in their Kfar Aza home and hearing the gunshots outside. They were able to secure the door, and the terrorists, frustrated that they could not get in the room over a period of hours, even after firing hundreds of bullets into the door, finally just set the whole house on fire to burn the family alive.

All three were severely burned — mom Ellay the worst as she tried to protect baby Yael with her own body. They eventually used the cover of the intense flames to climb out a window and hide under a tractor, where Ellay nursed Yael to keep her hydrated. Ellay, who had finished medical school and was three months short of finishing an internship at Soroka Hospital, kept herself conscious until first responders arrived. She gave them directions on treating Yael and then allowed herself to pass out from the pain.

They were helicoptered to Israel’s National Burn Center, which is part of Sheba Medical Center.

Dad Ariel was hospitalized in one room. 18-month-old Yael, with second and third degree burns on 30% of her body, was sedated and intubated and put into Pediatric Intensive Care at Sheba’s Safra Children’s Hospital. She then had to be moved on Oct. 9 when the entire NICU and PICU were sent into an underground parking garage for protection against rocket attack.

Ellay, burned the worst of all three, was intubated and put into an induced coma for what was ultimately 58 days, continuing even after Ariel and Yael were discharged from in-patient care.

The Golan family was treated with an innovative product invented in Israel called NexoBrid. According to Prof. Josef Haik, Director of the National Burn Center at Sheba, the family’s positive outcome is due in part to having been treated immediately upon arrival at Sheba with the product. Developed by Israeli company MediWound and approved by the FDA, it makes treating severe burns easier and quicker. Dozens of October 7 victims were treated with the product. NexoBrid enables trained medical staff to perform enzymatic surgery rather than standard surgery to remove dead tissue within a wound or severe burn. Right after Oct. 7 the company halted all global shipments to keep the product available in Israel.

Haik, who has treated burn victims all over the world, said NexoBrid is a game-changer.

“If we hadn’t used it, the Golans would have had lots of skin grafts, surgeries, a longer hospitalization, and experienced more pain. By using NexoBrid we had to perform less debridements and saved tissue that otherwise we would have cut off,” he said.  The United States has bought $20 million worth of NexoBrid for a strategic national stockpile and some months ago the US Department of Defense awarded the company $14.4 million to develop a battlefield version.

The miracles in this story don’t stop there.

Dr. Ellay Golan was eventually discharged to outpatient treatment and graduated from medical school. She was going to begin her residency at Soroka hospital, but Sheba Director General Prof. Itzik Kreiss had another idea.

Two weeks ago, Sheba Medical Center held the “Lights of Hope” event, dedicated to war casualties.  Over 1400 people were in attendance.

Prof. Kreiss called Ellay on stage and presented her with a new stethoscope to replace hers, which had melted and charred on Oct. 7. He also presented her with a Sheba employee ID and announced that her residency would now be at Sheba. There were few dry eyes in the audience for this moment. We believe it is the first time that someone is both a resident and a patient in the same hospital, as Dr. Golan continues her rehabilitation from her serious wounds. And after her experience with rehabilitation at Sheba, she is considering switching her field from OB/GYN to Rehab.

So many reasons for pride in Israel.

Israeli innovation, the loving and skilled patient care at Sheba Medical Center, and Dr. Ellay Golan – mom, physician, superwoman. And now…….Sheba Resident.

The 9,999 other employees of Sheba will welcome her with joy.

Am Yisrael Chai


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