A Letter from Dr. Shirit Kazum

Rabin Exchange Fellow, Dr. Shirit Kazum

Dear American Friends of Rabin Medical Center,

My name is Dr. Shirit Kazum and I have come to New York from Tel Aviv, Israel and Rabin Medical Center as part of the Rabin Medical Exchange Fellows program offered by the American Friends of RMC. I am currently doing my cardiac echocardiography rotation at the cardiology department of Mount Sinai Hospital.

Thank you for inviting me today to attend this very special reception at this very special place, the new World Trade Center.

This site has a powerful meaning to me as an Israeli, living in a country that is all too familiar with the agony of terror attacks. Also, it is very meaningful as a cardiologist whose primary mission is to save human lives on a daily basis.

I was born and raised in Kfar Saba, a small town near Tel Aviv, where I actually live today. From childhood, I always knew that I wanted to practice medicine. As a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces I served in the medical corps of the Israeli army. I studied medicine in Budapest, Hungary and following my graduation I joined the Rabin Medical Center as an intern.

Since 2012, I have been a resident in the Division of Cardiology. I discovered a tremendous new world. The cardiac intensive care is a unit where every second counts. At any minute, a new patient may arrive in a state of cardiac emergency or crisis that is life threatening. We treat our patients with the most sophisticated medications, devices and techniques ranging from coronary stents, to cardiac pacemakers and even artificial heart transplantations. At times, these situations can be difficult, but the joy and satisfaction I feel seeing each of those patients going home in good health reminds me that this is what it is about!!!

Through my work in cardiology, I discovered that there is one sub-specialty that interests me the most, cardiac echocardiography. This technique allows us to look inside the heart from the outside, seeing the heart beating from every direction. Beautiful pictures are created through good orientation and more than a degree of imagination. Echo pictures are instrumental in diagnosis, as well as in guiding procedures and following the progress of patients.

So by now you might think cardiology is all about action and heroic procedures. It is not. It's about prevention and risk modification. And for me it is also about sports medicine!

Sports cardiology has applications anyone who participates in any kind of athletic activity: running, swimming, and ball games. Sports cardiology involves a screening process for athletes to identify heart disorders and cardiac diseases that can cause great disability or even sudden death. After identifying the problem, our goal is to provide the means to overcome the threat with proper cardiac care and protection.

Standing here today, I remember watching the events of 9/11 from a distance...with sorrow but also with great admiration for the strength and ability of Americans to overcome this horrible event. I arrived here in NY for the first time 3 years ago. Ground Zero was the first site I visited. There are no words to describe my emotions at that time. Standing here, I listened to the silence. Watching the water streaming deep down into the pools, I was filled up with despair. But later on, while walking in the gardens lush with replanted trees, grass and flowers, I realized that in a place of devastation innovation and rebirth can begin. Looking around today, I see that continued rebirth in the gardens and the new buildings, alive with people and with promise.

I want to thank you for inviting me here today as a Rabin Fellow named in honor of Scott Rechler. Today’s event provides the funding for future Rabin fellows to come to the United States for medical specialization. I want to thank the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center for giving me this amazing opportunity to spend one month at Mount Sinai Hospital and to be here with you on this very special evening.

Thank you all!

Dr. Shirit Kazum

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