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30 Year MDA Sderot Staffer Yossi Cohen: Saving Lives in Israel

Yoni Yagodovsky, Dir. of MDA's Inte'l Department (left), with MDA Sderot Medic Yossi Cohen (center) and Yehuda Shushan, Dir. of MDA's Negev Region. Photo courtesy MDA. 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.’”

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