Eytan meets the donor whose blood saved his life

January 29, 2024 by Zaki Heler
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Eytan Tesler, an IDF fighter, was critically wounded by an RPG missile while fighting in Beit Hanoun. Eitan lost a large volume of blood and suffered serious and life-threatening injuries.

Gershon and Eytan

But his life was saved thanks to a “whole blood” unit provided to the IDF by the MDA Blood Services used in the treatment in the battle zone a few moments after the injury.

Only about 10% of the blood donor population in Israel are suitable for such a donation, which contains all the components of the blood in a unique antibody compound and, in fact, gives the emergency casualty whole blood, which helps save lives. Gershon Panker, a resident of Ramla, donated the special blood unit, and it was given to Eytan on November 1 on the battlefield in Beit Hanoun by the IDF medical forces who gave him medical treatment under fire right near the moment of the critical injury.

A few weeks later in the hospital Eitan recovered and this week – in an exciting and special meeting, he met the donor of the blood dose that saved his life in Kiryat Magen David Adom in Ramla.

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The new MDA Blood Bank in Kiryat Magen David Adom began operating on the third day of the “Iron Swords” war. The Blood Services laboratories in the new building in Ramla are all underground, completely protected and allow for the processing of half a million blood units per year, twice the capacity of the previous bank building. Advanced automated systems are installed in the building for separating the blood units into their various components and additional technological equipment that helps deal with a large number of units and thus save lives.

“You saved my life, I’m full of chills,” he said excitedly when meeting with Gershon. “The unit of blood you donated is the first dose I received in the field. God works with people and you are the man he chose. Thank you very much. You gave me another chance and did a lot for me. I thank you, Magen David Adom and all the medical teams who treated me. Thank you very much.”

Gershon Panker, the blood donor, added: “Eitan did a lot for the country and he deserves to receive my donation. In the first days of the war, I went straight to the MDA donation point and donated blood, and I felt in my heart that if needed – it would go to the right person. Nothing makes me happier to see that my contribution saved lives in the field. This was my mission and I will continue to donate blood in the future as well. I did my small part in the mission. I call on everyone to come and donate blood to save lives.”

Prof. Eilat Shinar, MDA Deputy Director General of Blood Servicessaid : “The special thing we have done in the State of Israel, we as Magen David Adom together with the IDF Medical Corps is to promote the provision of whole blood to the wounded in the field, as early as possible. For us here at the MDA blood services, it is hugely exciting to see the essence of the work become a reality and that it has wrought a miracle.”

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