By Carol Gelman

Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital felt like a new world of health care for a delegation visiting Sandy Springs from the Western Galilee on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The delegation from Israel’s Western Galilee Cluster of a dozen municipalities and local authorities was making a weeklong reciprocal visit to Sandy Springs for a week as part the five-year Sister City agreement Mayor Rusty Paul signed during a trip to Israel with City Council member Andy Bauman and other city officials last October.

A Western Galilee Cluster delegation visits Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital on Sept. 13.

A Western Galilee Cluster delegation visits Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital on Sept. 13.

Sandy Springs and the Western Galilee agreed to focus on developing business and cooperation in the areas of tourism, cybersecurity and technology, and health care.

Paul Scheinberg, Emory St. Joseph’s chief medical officer, visited Western Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya during a Jewish National Fund medical mission early this year, laying the groundwork for the tour of the hospital he led Sept. 13. The group also visited Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Scottish Rite hospital.

At St. Joseph’s, the visit included an inside look at gamma knife radiation therapy for the treatment of brain cancer, robotic cardiac surgery, the electronic ICU, and patient rounds.

“The visit felt like worlds apart,” Kfar Vradim Mayor Sivan Yechilei said. “In Israel the concentration is in acute medicine while here it is more the management of disease and treating people as a whole.”

The gamma knife drew particular interest because the Western Galilee Medical Center has been trying to obtain one, and the delegation took careful notes on costs and capacities. Yechilei said getting such technology would allow the hospital to diversify and deliver the latest technology to people living in Israel’s outlying areas.

“The tour of the hospital, it’s very important for us, the cooperation on the medical side. I’ll tell you why,” Yechilei said. “We’re in the periphery of Israel. We specialize in emergency medicine and stuff like that because our main hospital is close to the Lebanese border, but we always compare ourselves to Tel Aviv. We have decided we have to cut that link to Tel Aviv and start looking at the world.”

Radiation oncologist Shannon Kahn shows off the Winship Cancer Institute’s gamma knife brain surgery machine, something the Western Galilee Medical Center also wants.

Radiation oncologist Shannon Kahn shows off the Winship Cancer Institute’s gamma knife brain surgery machine, something the Western Galilee Medical Center also wants.

The delegates were equally impressed by the quality of clinical care, with special regard to the patient rounds, during which a team of medical professionals visits with patients on a daily basis to enhance the continuum of care.

“Emory treats patients with love using an excellent bedside manner, which is something we could improve,” Yechilei said.

Scheinberg said the Israeli delegation had a memorable visit. “When I met with them later that evening, they continued to rave about their experiences here and look forward to collaboration between Western Galilee Medical Center and Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital.”

Besides Yechilei, the Israeli delegates were Maalot Tashiha Mayor Shlomo Bohbot, Maale Yosef Mayor Shimon Gueta, Mateh Asher Mayor Yoram Israeli and Deputy Mayor Moshe Davidovich, the Western Galilee Cluster administration’s Yael Ron, and CEO Yariv Hameiri of Treasures of the Galilee, a nonprofit tourism organization.

On the Sandy Springs side, the tour included Bauman, Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Tom Mahaffey, and city Economic Development Director Andrea Hall.

Photos courtesy of Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital