Israeli researcher on PTSD gives presentations in Miami
A researcher in the fields of suicide prevention and post-traumatic stress disorder who was also the private physician of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, was recently in South Florida.
Dr. Eyal Fruchter, director of the Division of Mental Health at Rambam Health Care Campus in Israel, recently spoke at locations in Aventura, North Miami Beach and North Miami to introduce the hospital to the local community.
“Rambam Hospital is the biggest and central trauma center and hospital in the Northern part of Israel, so we and the American Friends of Rambam want to let Miami know about Rambam and what we’re doing there,” Fruchter said. “Of course my topics as a psychiatrist were basically focused on trauma and post-trauma treatment, physically and mainly mental. Rambam is the hospital of the north and a big trauma center that takes a lot of trauma victims from areas that are always in danger as a conflict zone.”
Fruchter has also served in many leading positions in the field of mental health in the Israeli Defense Forces. In his last position, with the rank of colonel, he headed the mental health department in the IDF Medical Corps. He is considered an expert on PTSD, suicide prevention, depression and aviation psychology.
Fruchter hopes that the local audiences of his presentations learned that PTSD is a very devastating illness. Following the presentations, audience members asked questions regarding his treatment of Shalit following the soldier’s release from captivity by Hamas militants.
When asked to describe Shalit’s strength and resilience in the treatment after his release in an interview, Fruchter responded that although he suffered from PTSD, he was very brave during the treatment and he was able to better himself.
Fruchter’s local presentations took place less than two weeks before the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. In an interview following the shooting, he described how he feels would be the right way to work with people coping from this kind of traumatic event.
“For instance, if you the take the recent shooting in Florida, which of course was a very sad event, and you know how to work with the students from the school in the early phases immediately after the trauma, they have a much higher chance of not developing PTSD, and that would make their lives much better.”
Susan Baron, director of American Friends of Rambam’s Southeast Region, which opened in October, 2017 and is based in Aventura, said, regarding the timeliness of Fructher’s local presentations before the shooting, “There are so many things we can learn from our brothers and sisters in Israel.”
“They are specialists on learning how to deal with stress with the potential of trauma attacks. They live it on a daily basis and they learn how to handle that stress and that fear, especially the parents who have to send their children into the army when they turn 18 and these young people themselves who know that when they turn 18 they’re going to put in a life threatening situation. We have a lot to learn and one of the great things about Rambam is that they have doctors like Dr. Fruchter who have made breakthroughs in their clinical practice on PTSD and on how to deal with this kind of stress.”
Fruchter’s local presentations took place at Turnberry Isle Miami in Aventura, at Lexus Showroom in North Miami during an Israeli Riviera Parliament meeting, at Porto Vita in Aventura and at private homes.
Contact Baron at SBaron@aforam.org for more information on the organization’s Southeast Region. Visit aforam.org for more information on the organization.or at