1. Rotem-Picker, Orly MSN, RN

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"Across the Barrier" (Correspondence from Abroad, August), by Constancia Romilly, offers an unbalanced view of the lives of nurses in Israel: the Israeli nurse comments on professional issues, while the Palestinian nurse relays the difficulties of her life because of the political situation. As director of the nursing division of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, I would like to balance out that portrayal.


During the past five years of Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel, our daily activities have been restricted to the basics, such as going to work or school. Israelis stay at home because all public places have become a threat, and you can't help but notice the anxious nurses checking their cell phones while listening to reports of casualties. Shift exchanges in the hospital can be an utter nightmare. Until recently, some roads were unexpectedly closed for hours because of sniper alerts. Three Hadassah employees were killed, and 28 lost close relatives because of terror attacks. Health care workers couldn't make it to work, or they had to take alternative routes and were hours late. My colleagues had to use the phone to comfort crying children, who were home alone within earshot of gunfire.


Life has been extremely difficult for Jewish and Arab nurses alike. I hope that this brief snapshot of our hospital will show your readers the plight of all involved in this conflict.


Orly Rotem-Picker, MSN, RN


Jerusalem, Israel