Israeli “Dream Doctors” dropped everything back home and arrived in Nepal to help ease the physical and emotional pain earthquake victims are suffering through.
Israel’s medical team operating in earthquake-devastated Nepal, the second-largest delegation sent by any country in the world aside from India, has brought vital care to scores of victims. IDF doctors have treated some 1,000 patients since establishing the field hospital, conducted tens of life-saving surgical procedures and assisted in delivering Nepali newborns.
A small yet significant part of the team is the “Dream Doctors” – medical clowns who dropped everything to join the Israeli medical professionals in Nepal. They brought laughter to Nepalese children recovering from injuries sustained during the natural disaster that struck the country over a week ago.
Dream Doctors Yaron Sancho Goshen, Smadar Harpak, Rotem Goldenberg, David DuSh BarasHi and Nimrod Eisenberg are using their skills to ease the effects of trauma and to reduce pain and anxiety among both children and adults.
One of “Doctor” Sancho’s surprises “was meeting a Nepalese volunteer who speaks Hebrew,” he said. “She worked in Binyamina for four years and in Zichron Yaakov for one – we were neighbors for five years, but we didn’t meet until right now in the IDF Field Hospital Emergency Room.” She also helped translate.
Discussing his so-called medical procedures, Sancho said that “only about 30% of the cases directly resulted from the earthquake, but taking the pressure off local hospitals is part of the mission’s brief, as one of the physicians explained to me. The audience, facing a long wait, sitting in an orderly manner on benches, forms an easy target for the medical clown.”
“I do what a clown should do, and so time passes in a more ‘smiley’ way,” he explained. “As I have sensed over the past few days, the ability of the wounded to regain their powers of clear and joyful communication is a wonderful thing to behold.”
One patient, through the translator, discussed “how grateful he is to Israel for what Israel is doing.” Indeed, Sancho said, “whoever is hospitalized in the IDF tent is in a relatively much better state than elsewhere. I have a feeling they are aware of this as well.
“Let us also be aware how much we owe to the thousands of Nepalese who have been handling and still are dealing with matters in Israel where we find things difficult.”
Israel is considered a leader in professionalizing the field of medical clowning and providing scientific evidence for its effectiveness. Over the last few years, Israeli clowns have been popping into hospital operating rooms and intensive care units with balloons and kazoos in hand, teaming up with doctors to develop laughter therapies they say help with disorders such as pain.