The last Israeli to be wounded during Operation Protective Edge was released on Monday from the hospital. His parting from the medical staff was an emotionally charged event.
Gadi Yarkoni, the last casualty to be wounded during Operation Protective Edge, was released Monday from Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva. Yarkoni, 47, of Kibbutz Nirim, a father of three, was critically wounded by a mortar shell that fell in his kibbutz just hours before the latest ceasefire with Hamas came into affect. Two other Israeli civilians – Zev Etzion, 55, and Shahar Melamed, 43 – were killed in the incident. Yarkoni underwent several operations and lost both legs below the knees. He still faces a long and grueling rehabilitation process.
Emotions ran high as the medical staff came to bid Yarkoni farewell. Dr. Amir Corngreen, director of the Orthopedic Trauma Unit at Soroka, said:
“We fought for Gadi’s life, and now he faces a long and difficult road to full recovery. We asked him that when he comes to visit us at Soroka he should do so walking.”
Gadi was deeply moved and hugged the staff that had treated him with dedication throughout his hospitalization period. He promised to come back and visit.
Medical Care under Fire
Soroka Medical Center, which was often under rocket fire during Operation Protective Edge, served as the main hub for the treatment of the operation’s casualties; 1,116 wounded were treated at Soroka throughout the operation, 740 of them soldiers and 376 civilians. Fifty-three were critically wounded, 40 moderately, and the rest were treated for light wounds or shock, which is frequently experienced by civilians after a rocket explodes in their vicinity. During the course of the war, 60 helicopters brought the wounded to Soroka. A total of 140 operations were performed at the hospital. More than 1,400 babies were delivered under fire. In the last 24 hours before the latest ceasefire, a record was set when 68 babies were born during that time period.
Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel