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Indiana doctor returns from volunteer trip to Israel

Ascension St. Vincent doctor returns from Israel

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dr. Louis Profeta is an emergency medicine doctor at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital with decades of experience and he just returned from a nearly three-week stint providing volunteer medical care in Israel during the ongoing war with Hamas.

Profeta said he felt called to provide medical care in Israel so he applied when he found out there was a need.

“I’m Jewish and I’m also an American,” Profeta said, “and this is probably our greatest ally and it’s important. It’s an important cause.”

With around 150,000 patients under his belt, Profeta says he was ready to educate more junior doctors in Israel on how to handle a mass casualty situation. “People there were singularly focused on bringing the hostages back, winning the war against Hamas. It was incredibly rewarding to be around a group of individuals like that, that were so incredibly focused.”

He says the people he worked with were extremely grateful for his and other’s help on the front lines of the medical response. “When we were there people could not have been more gracious to us. They were so thankful that we had taken time, the volunteer physicians, dropped everything we were doing and came out and volunteered.”

Profeta spent nearly three weeks at the Western Galilee Hospital and, for him, this was a coming home of sorts. He’d trained in mass casualty response at the medical center 15 years ago.

“We actually brought some of our protocols back here to initiate how we manage mass casualty in our emergency departments here,” Profeta said.

The doctor says returning to Israel to help was deeply moving for him.

“I went to the site of the massacres. I mean you could just feel the evil. You could feel the pain in the air. It was incredibly surreal. I collected some rocks and I collected some soil to bring back to some of the synagogues here locally so we could distribute it and sorta come up with a way to utilize that for a better purpose.”

Profeta was not the only physician from Ascension St. Vincent to help out in Israel. Dr. Jonathan Saxe also spent time taking care of patients during the Israel-Hamas War.