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Sheba’s Battle to Save Lives: Stories of Heroism & Resilience

With each passing day, Sheba’s medical personnel and the global media are coming face-to-face with the harsh realities of the war. In this edition, we are retelling the mind-blowing story of the Golan family from Kfar Aza. A story of heroism and survival.

Yael is an 18-month old baby who lived with her young parents Ariel and Ellai Golan in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, a beautiful town near the Gaza Strip. When the Hamas onslaught began on a Saturday, less than 2 weeks ago, hundreds of mortar shells and missiles rained down from the sky. Yael’s parents rushed her into their safe room, thinking it is just another “casual” Hamas missile strike.

However, this time it was a whole different story. About 40 minutes after the first explosions were heard, the family understood that terrorists were actually inside the kibbutz. They waited in horror for hours hoping someone would come for their rescue. That did not happen. Several hours later, the terrorists entered their home, trying to force enter the safe room. They did not succeed. Not even after firing hundreds of bullets into the safe room door.

A few minutes later, the family started feeling the heat of flames and smoke. Gradually smoke  started infiltrating the safe room as the terrorists burned down their home. The heat and smoke were unbearable. The young parents tried to protect their daughter as best as they could, but when the interior of the safe room caught fire, they had no choice but to escape through the emergency window, knowing they will probably meet the terrorists who were still outside.

They were lucky.

They were able to flee, unnoticed through the blazing flames, suffering extensive burns and hid inside the family tractor that was parked a short distance behind the house.

They hid there for more the 9 hours, until the IDF finally reached them.

They were air lifted to Sheba Medical Center. Ellai, clutched her daughter, refusing treatment until both trauma doctors and pediatricians were able to convince her to treat everyone.

 Ellai’s severe injuries mandated immediate intubation and she was rushed to the OR, where the head of Sheba’s Burn Center, Prof. Josef Haik and his team started treating her and other members of the family. Ellai has extensive 3rd degree burns over 60% of her body and also suffered from severe smoke inhalation injury, and is in critical condition. Ariel has similar injuries, but has now improved and is stable. Little Yael, protected by the flesh of her mother had 30% burns, suffered severe smoke inhalation injury and was on mechanical ventilation for 6 days. Doctors battled for her life, in our state of the art pediatric ICU that was transferred to the emergency underground hospital. She is now off mechanical ventilation and in stable condition. They are also surrounded 24/7 by their immediate families.

May they all make a speedy recovery!

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