From Military Uniform to Hospital Scrubs
November 13, 2023 – The “Swords of Iron” War in Israel requires an all-hands-on-deck effort from its citizens. Stories of heroism are abound, including at Rambam Health Care Campus (Rambam) in Haifa, Israel. The hospital’s medical staff have stepped up in many heroic ways.
Dr. David Nikomarov, director of Musculoskeletal Oncology Surgery in Rambam’s Orthopedic Surgery Section, is a specialist in musculoskeletal malignancies. His actions exemplify the word “hero.” Devoted to his work, Dr. Nikomarov is performing many of his medical duties for Rambam while also serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel and Senior Commander of a division now in Gaza.
“Usually in the military, doctors automatically perform medical duties in the reserves. This is essential—we need a maximum number of doctors in the IDF. However, by the time I began my medical studies after my military service, my role was already significant, so I preferred to continue doing that in the reserves,” he explains.
“On October 7,” says Nikomarov, “as in past military conflicts, due to my rank and role, I was called up for duty in my unit, along with the other members of our brigade.
Nikomarov continues, “I report for duty at Rambam whenever possible, to treat patients and perform surgeries, and then return to my unit.” Even though he quickly changes from military uniform to hospital scrubs, he remarks, “My transition from my military role to surgeon is not automatic.” Nikomarov needs a few moments to acclimate. “I have supportive and dedicated multi-disciplinary colleagues who send me messages throughout the week,” he shares. “I have a very loving family who support me from a distance. When I arrive home, I am unable to spend much time with my family, as I have obligations to my patients at Rambam.”
Serving bravely on the frontlines, Nikomarov reflects on the importance of the work he is doing. “I serve with amazing people – most of us have been together since the beginning of our military service at 18 years old. Now, years later, we forge ahead with great purpose. The situation we entered on Saturday October 7 was very complex and we couldn’t and still can’t be distracted from the work we are doing here. Likewise, when I am on duty at Rambam, I must be completely focused on the task at hand. In the few free moments I have to myself, I am able to look back on the tragedy and the situation we are in. But thinking about all the soldiers serving, my unit, and my patients at Rambam gives me strength.”
He concludes, “I am here, and proud to be taking part in this most important war and doing my best for my patients and comrades in the military.”