30 Year MDA Sderot Staffer Yossi Cohen:
Saving Lives in Israel
Yossi Cohen, who has been an MDA Sderot employee for thirty years and is a resident of the city, was the first on-scene MDA team member who attended to the woman who sustained severe injuries as a result of the May 16 Qassam attacks.
“We received the alert of a Qassam attack in the evening. I was at home on stand-by with the ambulance. I live in Sderot’s northernmost neighborhood, which is quite remote. The Qassam fell about 400 meters from my house. I drove to the area and began scanning the site. I found one female casualty lying on the floor, with various injuries. I began treating her and called the dispatch to send a MICU. There were three landings during the night – we attended to four light-level casualties and people suffering from shock – and that’s more or less the way it went on all day long.”
“I go to sleep dressed, on the alert – I know that I could be woken up any second and dispatched to the sites, and I have to be very focused in order to treat the casualties.”
Unfortunately Yossi is no stranger to the damage a Qassam can cause. His daughter, son-in-law and baby grandson sustained injuries from a Qassam that hit their house in Moshav Carmia. The baby (seven months old at the time) sustained the most severe injuries.
“About a year and three months ago my grandson sustained severe injuries from a Qassam. He suffered head injuries – he’s had two surgical procedures, skull reconstruction and has a permanent drainage tube attached to his head. He’s in therapy every Monday and Thursday (Yossi himself takes his grandson to these therapy sessions which include hydrotherapy sessions in a regional swimming pool). Its not over with the injury, you take it with you all your life. I’ve been living over 50 years in Sderot, since I was eighteen months and I lived in the ma’abara (transit camp). I know everyone and their families by name. I hurt a little every time there’s another casualty in Sderot, even the shock/anxiety casualties, I know what they’re going through,” says Cohen. “These days are very difficult days. As long as I’m on duty, I hold. I go to work and do my best. MDA is my home. I believe and know, as the song says, that there are ‘Better Days Ahead.’”