In first person…Med student gets hit up for blood

In 1952, while I was a medical student in Lausanne, Switzerland, I had the opportunity to go to Israel during the summer to work in Israel. It was a three-month program, with two weeks of touring included. During my tour on the shore of Lake Kinneret, an Israeli army jeep arrived and an officer jumped out. He asked if there was a "universal blood" donor among us. I offered my help and swiftly climbed into the jeep. Off we went to an army post, where an Israeli soldier, seriously hurt, needed an immediate blood transfusion.

I found myself immediately put on a blanket-covered table, for a direct, person-to-person transfusion. And then, afterwards, I was told to eat. But I had just had dinner. I had to comply, for they kept saying, "Eat! Eat!"

My second trip to Israel, in 1990, was quite different, for I went as a tourist and to revisit old friends.

Israel, 38 years later, still had all its natural beauty and awe-inspiring history. It had advanced incredibly.

During my first trip, danger was everywhere, and, to my great regret, I was unable to visit East Jerusalem.

During my second trip, the country felt safe and yes, I saw East Jerusalem.

Also, Israeli medicine is now one of the best in the whole world.