In a complex operation spanning three countries, an elderly Jewish woman from the conflict-ridden regions of Ukraine has been successfully brought to Israel to receive critical medical care.

United Hatzalah’s Operations Division received a humanitarian request two months ago from the family of an elderly Jewish woman residing in Mykolaiv, a city near the volatile frontlines of Ukraine. They painted a grim picture of her deteriorating health, stating that she was hospitalized and urgently needed specialized medical treatment to survive, which couldn’t be offered in the country.

Without delay, a complex rescue mission was orchestrated. After weeks of meticulous coordination, extensive preparations, and securing the necessary authorizations from multiple authorities, the operation was set in motion last week.

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The ambulance trip from Mykolaiv to Bucharest took 14 hours

Volunteers from United Hatzalah in Ukraine readied one of the organization’s Ukraine-based ambulances, fully equipped with advanced lifesaving equipment thanks to a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, for an extraordinary and lengthy journey. On Tuesday, they picked up the elderly lady from Mykolaiv and embarked on a grueling 14-hour trip – which included a ferry trip on the Black Sea – to Bucharest, Romania, where they met Dr. Ella Karlinsky, a family doctor, and David Krispil, an EMT and the mission commander, both of whom had flown in from Israel specifically for this endeavor.

Conducting a thorough medical assessment, the team prepared the elderly woman for immediate evacuation to Israel, arranging for her transport on an El Al aircraft equipped with a specially designed medical cabin. The cabin included a custom-made stretcher for medical flights, ensuring the woman’s comfort and safety during the entire journey, alongside an essential oxygen cylinder for her well-being.

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The woman was transported on an El Al aircraft equipped with a specially designed medical cabin

Upon landing in Israel on Thursday, the elderly woman was swiftly transferred by ambulance to Shmuel HaRofe Medical Center in Be’er Ya’akov, where she would receive the vital medical attention she urgently required.

Overwhelmed with gratitude and deeply moved by her arrival in the country, the elderly woman and her family expressed their profound appreciation to the entire team. She is currently receiving top-of-the-line hospital care in Israel, and her condition is steadily improving.

A heartwarming incident occurred when the ambulance, carrying the elderly woman, boarded the ferry between Ukraine and Romania. The woman tearfully shared with the medical team that she had been bedridden for months and deprived of witnessing daylight. Realizing they were aboard a ferry, she eagerly expressed her desire to catch a glimpse of the sea. Responding to her heartfelt request, the ambulance team positioned the vehicle near the edge of the ferry, opening its doors to allow the elderly woman to experience the sea’s beauty.

David Krispil, the mission commander, said: “Following a complex operation that included an ambulance team from Ukraine, a medical team from Israel, and an ambulance waiting in Israel at the plane’s arrival, we succeeded in fulfilling the elderly woman’s request and bringing her to her new home. I want to express my gratitude to the ‘orange angels’, the volunteers from United Hatzalah who assisted us throughout the entire journey. Without them, this intricate rescue mission would not have been possible. Special thanks go to EMT Vicky Tifferet, Head of the Hula Valley branch, who maintained continuous contact with the elderly woman and the institution where she was hospitalized to locate the necessary documents, and provided encouragement to her and her family throughout the process. Additional thanks go to Evgeny Neymer, who helped coordinate with doctors in Mykolaiv, to Clalit for allowing Dr. Karlinsky to join this operation, and to the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Absorption for their efforts in coordinating and obtaining the necessary approvals for the elderly woman’s arrival in Israel.”

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