IDF Doctor Delivers Palestinian Baby

News reports about the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in international media are mostly about conflict with the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The IDF are usually portrayed in an offensive role, trying to secure more territory, rather than in their defensive role of preserving the State of Israel, protecting its independence, and foiling attempts by Israel’s enemies to disrupt normal life in the country.

However, Israeli media outlets are more aware of the many interactions between IDF soldiers and ordinary Palestinians that are peaceful ones. Most Palestinians are said to simply want a better life for their families, and many would prefer to live under a stable Israeli government rather than be ruled by the autocratic Palestinian Authority.

A recent example of the IDF helping a Palestinian family came last week when reports emerged of Lieutenant Dr Michael Ekhouse helping a Palestinian woman to give birth to a baby boy. Dr Ekhouse is a member of the IDF Engineering Corps, and his team was manning a roadblock near the Palestinian village of Samoa, which is close to the town of Hebron.

He explained:

“We stood by the ambulance between the concrete blocks ready for any emergency.
At around 12 noon, a Palestinian vehicle carrying two women, a man and three
children arrived at the checkpoint. The man asked in Hebrew:
‘Is there a doctor here? My wife is about to give birth.’
I glanced at the car and saw a woman in great pain, pale and exhausted
– who was about to give birth. I examined her and immediately realised
that we were in the final birthing stage.”

Dr Ekhouse then discovered that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck – not an uncommon situation, but dangerous for the baby. He managed to remove the cord from the baby’s neck and deliver the baby safely, the whole process taking just five to seven minutes.

The mother and her baby were then treated by Magen David Adom paramedics, who had been called to the scene, and were later transferred to the care of the Red Crescent.

Dr Ekhouse summed-up the incident by saying:

“I’ve never performed a birth in the field, and never imagined the first time would
happen like this. We are here to provide medical assistance to anyone who needs it.”