News and Events

From Battlefield Injury to Rambam Heart Surgeon

Publication Date: 2/13/2023 11:00 AM
Twenty years ago, Roi Glam and three other Israeli soldiers were wounded by gunfire during a clash in the West Bank town of Jenin. Today Glam is an attending physician in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Rambam Health Care Campus (Rambam) in Haifa, Israel – the hospital that saved his life.
Dr. Roi Glam in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Rambam HCC. Photography: Rambam HCCDr. Roi Glam in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Rambam HCC. Photography: Rambam HCC

In 2003, after several heavy clashes, four soldiers from the Golani Brigade (an elite Israel Defense Force infantry brigade), were wounded by Palestinian gunfire in Jenin. One of the soldiers, 20-year-old Roi Glam, was seriously injured. While ballistic protective garments help save lives, significant injuries still occur. A bullet penetrated his bulletproof vest, and he bled profusely.

As the battle continued around him, Glam realized he was losing a lot of blood. A medic administered emergency treatment in the field and Glam was evacuated to Emek Medical Center – a regional hospital in north-eastern Israel. From there he was transferred to the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Rambam, the largest department of its kind in Israel, where he could receive specialized treatment and care.

“My left lung was seriously injured,” Glam recalls. “It was a life-threatening situation. My rehabilitation included physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation, which took about one year.”

During that time, he realized that medicine was his life's calling. Now, 20 years later, 40-year-old Glam has come full circle. Every morning he arrives at Rambam and begins caring for patients in the Department of Cardiac Surgery, where he serves as a cardiothoracic surgeon. Today he is saving the lives of others in the same hospital where his life was saved.

Glam had to overcome a number of challenges before achieving his medical degree. Before being accepted into medical school, Glam studied for four years, just to improve his high-school grades. After successfully completing his medical studies, an internship and residency awaited.

Glam’s devoted wife, Efrat, stood by his side throughout the entire experience. “Efrat was the army casualty coordinator assigned to my case, and that is how we met,” he shares. “She is there for me every day. In 2008, when I started medical school, our first daughter, Inbar, was six months old – she is now 15. Daughters Uri and Neta followed – now 13 and 10. Our son Miloh was born during the first month of my internship, and he is now six and a half years old.”

Glam also serves as a doctor in the army reserves. As a wounded soldier and now a surgeon, he understands the dangers of combat from every angle. Rambam is the referral hospital for the Israel Defense Forces Northern Command and Glam makes it a point to visit wounded soldiers treated there – even if they are not his patients. Because his own injury is an integral part of who he is and how he became a doctor, Glam is able to encourage both the wounded soldiers and their families.

On February 22, 2023, Glam will share his story at Rambam's 14th annual cardiac surgery meeting: “Cardiac Surgery: Past, Present and Future.” This year’s meeting will focus on innovation, technologies, and techniques to improve the treatment and well-being of cardiac patients.

This article is based on a Hebrew article that originally appeared in Yediot Ahronot.