In light of the financial collapse facing Sderot’s trauma facilities, Sderot Media Center invited British Ambassador Tom Phillips to visit with Sderot psychologists on Thursday, June 4 to receive an in-depth overview of the crisis. Click here to read the British Embassy's coverage of the Ambassador's visit.
The Ambassador first visited Sderot Media Center to learn more of the organization’s ‘citizen journalism’ and its social media activities on behalf of the Sderot community. Following the visit to the media center, Ambassador Phillips met with the heads of the Sderot Trauma Center and the Shock Treatment Center where he learned of the vital role that the trauma facilities play in rehabilitating the residents of the rocket-torn community.
As much of the world tuned into US Barack Obama’s monumental speech in Cairo, Ambassador Phillips heard the impassioned speeches of Sderot Trauma Center’s director, Dalia Yosef and the head of Shock Treatment Center, Dr. Adrianna Katz.
The directors of the trauma facilities reported that lack of funding will force both trauma centers to close down by December 2009.
Dr. Katz explained that the Shock Treatment Center was opened three years ago to provide immediate treatment to Sderot victims who experience shock after a Qassam attack. Inside the shock center, the Ambassador viewed the small room where shock patients are treated, which must cram as many as fifty patients at a time.
When told of the recent rocket that struck a Sderot residential neighborhood and sent eight people into shock, the Ambassador asked how PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) victims could be treated in an environment where there was no post to the rocket attacks.
"It is a big problem and a question that we have yet to answer," responded Dr. Katz. "Following the recent rocket attack in May, there have been over 60 new requests for treatment at the Sderot Mental Health Center." Dr. Katz, who also directs the Sderot Mental Health Center, said that out of the 6,000 patient files, over half involve post trauma cases.
"The closing of the shock center will mean that Sderot shock victims will have to be transported 20 minutes away to Ashkelon’s Barzilai, which was the standard procedure before the Sderot center was opened three years ago," Dr. Katz added.
At the Sderot Trauma Center, Ambassador Phillips met with the director, Dalia Yosef, who explained that the trauma center, also known as the Merkaz Hosen is the only facility in Sderot which offers treatment for children. "We have 1,000 patient files, and over 80 percent of our cases our children suffering from symptoms of PTSD. Eight years of Qassam rocket fire has produced a generation of ‘Qassam children’ who have no concept of normal life," said Yosef.