Shir Dafna Speaks Out 17 Years After The Revadim Disaster

Shir Dafna שיר דפנה

Professor Shir Dafna of Tekoa was inured seventeen years ago in what was subsequently termed “The Revadim Disaster.” Seven people were killed and 198 wounded when the train they were travelling in collided with a truck crossing the tracks. Now, Shir chooses to share the story of her miraculous survival and rehabilitation at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran.

I was travelling to my home in the south 17 years ago when, just beyond the fields of Kibbutz Revadim, the train I was travelling in struck a truck that was crossing the track. I found myself sprawled out in a field of sunflowers, crawling around among the wreckage of the pulverized cabins.  That evening, the accident was dubbed, The Revadim Disaster, and for my family and me, it was, indeed, a disaster.

I was hospitalized in Soroka Hospital. Doctors debated whether or not to amputate my leg. My entire body was crushed and, worst of all, from the force of the impact I suffered an head injury that somehow went undiagnosed. After four years of unrelenting pain, the head injury was identified and I was referred to Beit Levenstein in Ra’anana for rehabilitation. A mother of two, still broken and injured, I was asked to make the long journey from my home in the Negev to Ra’anana in order to receive proper care. The year was 2009, and there was no rehabilitation facility in the Negev.

And then, we were witness to a miracle: the new rehabilitation center ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran opened its doors. I was among the first outpatient clients to be treated. The dedicated, caring and sensitive staff who had only just begun to accept patients supported, embraced and did whatever they possibly could for each individual. A rehabilitation physician came to ADI from Tel Aviv a number of times each week. I will never forget how ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran was uncompromising in their efforts to provide me with the best possible care, even bringing in a neuropsychologist specifically to deal with my case.  That was the extent of their sensitivity and the philosophy of excellence in rehabilitative care that was their guiding principle.

Being a patient within the Israeli health system is challenging, but when I arrived at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, I was infused with hope. I shifted from a situation of screaming out for help due to loss of control over my health to receiving appropriate, multi-professional, skilled, loving and healing care. Excellent and dedicated staff assisted me in my rehabilitation. A combined staff including a rehabilitation physician, physiotherapist, communication therapist, occupational therapist and rehabilitation psychologist all listened, and together they paved a pathway to rehabilitation that was both reasonable and attainable, always speaking and communicating with me eye-to-eye, imbued with the same respect with which they treated all patients, we whose lives were turned upside down in one moment.

Thanks to the care I received at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, I came to understand that my life was returned to me to enable me to do good, to continue on and serve the public. Towards the end of my rehabilitation, I was treated with pressure chamber therapy, and thanks to that combination of treatments, I got my life back again.

Today, I serve as director of the Faculty of Social Work at the Ashkelon Academic Academy. I am educating the next generation of social workers to be the best in their field, instilling in them the necessity of speaking to people eye-to-eye, teaching rehabilitative social work that includes an awareness of the potential inherent in the body, soul and spirit of each person, and the need to be professional in their work. Working with the health system is also important to me, as is the ability to pay back the goodness that I received by working with people and patients whose bodies were injured. This I do as a social worker at Kaplan Medical Center.

It is customary in Judaism that on one’s birthday, the celebrant blesses other people. And so, on my seventeenth birthday, I would like to thank all of the people at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran who gave me back my life and gave me back to my family. May you all be blessed in your work.

Thank you!

Professor Shir Dafna – Tekoa

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