What’s your name and how old are you?
My name is Mohammed Salah Eldin and I am 32 years old.
Where are you from?
I’m from East Jerusalem.
What is your family life like?
I have one brother and one sister, both of whom are married. Unfortunately, my parents have passed away. I got married one year ago, and my wife and I are expecting a baby girl next month.
Why did you want to become a doctor/work in medicine?
I remember when I was young, I liked to help people. I wanted to make them happy and have always had an interest in healing others.
When did you know you wanted to go into medicine?
From the beginning, during my early years at school, I knew I wanted to become a doctor. This conviction was further strengthened in high school when I performed well on my exams. I was certain that I would pursue the study of medicine.
Where did you study medicine/ what university did you go to?
I studied at the University in East Jerusalem.
How long did you study?
I attended medical school at the university for 6 years. After completing my studies, I underwent a 1-year internship, which is a requirement upon finishing university. I practiced pediatrics at Ramallah Hospital for 4 years. Additionally, I completed an intensive program and passed the boards.
This year, they are constructing a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. The unit opened 1 month ago, and they have already started receiving patients and performing catheterizations. I believe that next week, they will begin conducting open heart surgeries. They are waiting for me to be fully ready to manage the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
When did you hear about SACH?
I learned about SACH during my 3rd year as a pediatric resident. Dr. Rabuah, a cardiologist at the hospital in Ramallah, who was also trained by SACH, put me in touch with Dr. Racheli. After meeting Simon and the team, they accepted me into the intensivist program. However, due to the COVID pandemic, I had to wait until 2022 to start my training.
How long will you be in Israel?
During my training, I live at home and commute daily by train. The journey takes around 2.5-3 hours each way. My training program is scheduled to last 2-3 years, and I enjoy studying here at Wolfson.
What motivates you to train in Pediatric intensive care?
The PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) is different from other ICUs. I often witness patients coming to the unit in critical condition. However, with the support of a good team and effective management, which we have here, the children bounce back very quickly. It's heartwarming to see that when we wake them up from surgery, they are usually happy and feeling good. Witnessing very sick children recover and regain the ability to manage their lives is truly fulfilling.
What do people think back home about you training in Israel?
People at home know that training in Israel is better for any doctor. They understand that I need to seize the opportunity to learn from great doctors and work in high-quality hospitals.
What were your thoughts about coming to Israel before you arrived?
I didn't have any fear, as I already had a permit while I was in university in Jerusalem, so I knew what life would be like. There was a bit of apprehension at the beginning, knowing that I'd be in Tel Aviv every day, but so far everything has been good.
What is your hope for the future?
My hope is for my hospital to reach the highest level of excellence. Eventually, I also want the opportunity to teach doctors from other countries. Currently, at my hospital, they are building a team, and I aspire that it will soon be recognized as a center of excellence, where we can extend our support to other countries as well. My ultimate goal is to be able to treat many Palestinian children back home.
Where will you work when you return home?
I will be working at Ramallah Hospital, as they are eagerly waiting for me. It's the same place where I received my pediatrics training. We have a verbal agreement that upon completing my training, I will return as a pediatric intensivist.
Anything else you’d like to say about SACH/anything else you think I’ve missed about your story?
Everyone at SACH is incredibly kind and treats me with the utmost respect. Their mission and this program are addressing significant problems we face in the world, and the team forms personal connections with everyone involved in the organization. Simon is the best director of any organization; he treats me exceptionally well. The same goes for Dr. Racheli – she's an amazing teacher, and we have a mutual respect for each other.