Friday, January 04, 2013

Grateful patient seeks doctor

Can you please help a grateful friend find his doctor?

Here's the story.  In 1973, 20-year-old Boaz Tamir (left) was the leader of a defensive tank group on the Golan Heights in Israel when the Syrians attacked.  In the course of the battle, he was blinded by shrapnel and taken to the closest hospital for treatment.*  That small hospital was in Tiberias and ordinarily would not have had an eye specialist present.  But a young American doctor who had been visiting one of the Jerusalem hospitals for clinical rotations was assigned to this hospital in the periphery.  It turns out she was very adept at eye surgery and was able to remove the metal particles, and he recovered his eyesight.  In fact, although the treatment was not quite complete, once he could see, he "escaped" from the hospital and rejoined the tank batallion as it began the counter-attack toward Damascas.

Because Boaz left in such a hurry, he never had a chance to thank the doctor.  He later tried to track her down but was unable to find her.

Now, 40 years later, Boaz told me the story.  I said that, with his permission, I would begin a search for this doctor using our social media tools.

So here we are.  If you know a female eye surgeon (or perhaps a general surgeon) who spent some time in Israel during her training and might have been in Tiberias during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, would you please submit a comment on this blog post?  Or, if you know of someone who might know the surgeon, would you please contact that person and ask him or her to leave a comment?  Or, if you just want to spread the word through your channels, that would be great.  Thanks.

By the way, Boaz's eyesight is excellent, but he does have to wear sunglasses in the bright light, as seen here during a return visit to the site of the battle today.

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* Portions of the battle are described in this 1987 thesis by Major Oakland McCulloch:

The other six remaining tanks of Captain Avakia's company were strung out along the T-Line Road under the command of Lieutenant Boaz Tamir. As a column of Syrian tanks thrust toward Lieutenant Tamir's sector the Israeli gunners quickly destroyed the two leading tanks, but the Syrian tanks just kept grinding forward in what
seemed to be irresistible numbers. The Israelis continued to score direct hits as the range between the two forces closed to less than three hundred meters. However, this close quarter fighting cost Lieutenant Tamir four of his six Centurion tanks. Lieutenant Tamir realized that he would not be able to stem the Syrian attack without reinforcements....

About the same time Colonel Ben-Shoham and his command group arrived in Nafekh, Lieutenant Tamir was commanding the only Centurion remaining on the Tap Line Road near the Purple Line. He reported a formation of about sixty Syrian tanks moving in his direction and requested reinforcements from Lieutenant Colonel Eres. His battalion commander, also involved in heavy contact, could only afford to send the Lieutenant one tank and a half-track. Lieutenant Tamir's two tanks waited for the Syrian tanks to close and started firing. They destroyed several T-55s but then several volleys hit both Centurions from the onrushing enemy tanks. One tank was severely damaged but managed to escape back in the direction of Nafekh, while Lieutenant Tamir's tank was destroyed by five direct hits in quick succession.

1 comment:

Gary Levin said...

Dave, I will work on this with my fellow Ophthalmologist colleagues

Gary L