Last Casualty of Gaza War Leaves Hospital

September 16, 2014  

The last person injured in the course of Operation Protective Edge has been released from hospital. Gadi Yarkoni, 47, of Kibbutz Nirim, left Soroka Hospital Monday and is beginning a protracted period of rehabilitation at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer.

Yarkoni, a father of three, was very seriously wounded when a mortar shell fired by Gazxa terrorists exploded in Nirim on the last day of Operation Protective Edge, just one hour before the ceasfire began. Two other men – Ze’evik Etzion and Shahar Melamed hy”d – were also struck by the shrapnel. Etzion was killed immediately and Melamed died after being taken to the hospital.

Yarkoni underwent surgery several times and both of his legs were amputated below the knee.

“We fought for Gadi’s life, and now a challenging road lies ahead for him in rehabilitation,” said Dr. Amir Korngreen, Director of the Orthopedic Trauma Unit at Soroka. “I asked him that when he comes back to visit us at Soroka, he should arrive here walking.”

Yarkoni hugged the medical teams and told Israel Hayom: “I am leaving the hospital a different person. Dr. Korngreen has done superb work.”

“We were on kibbutz territory and suddenly there were many mortar shells and we did not manage to run for shelter in time,” he recalled. “It was very close to me and I did not make it to the structure. Today it is behind me. I am embarking on a new path and I will be back to visit when I am on my two legs, otherwise Dr. Korngreen will refuse to accept me.”

A combat soldier, Yehuda Yitzchak Hayisraeli from the Givati Reconnaisance Unit, who was seriously injured in the war, is also still hospitalized at Soroka. A son was born to him recently and he was taken out of his room and into the corridor – still under anesthesia and artifical respiration – to be present at the brit ceremony. He has undergone several operations to get rid of an infection that resulted from the serious injury to his head, and there are initial signs of a slow, very slight improvement in his condition.

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