Firas Shbat z”l, a father of five, died suddenly at the age of 44 while playing a game of soccer in the village of Nahef in the Galilee.
Firas Shbat was a nurse in both the Green Wagner Department of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Internal Medicine E at Rambam Health Care Campus for many years. Firas developed a heart problem in January of this year, and collapsed while playing soccer in the Galilee village of Nahef, his hometown. Unfortunately, attempts to resuscitate him failed, and he passed away. The tragic news shocked his family, friends, neighbors, and his colleagues at Rambam.
“Firas was a beloved personality in our ER”, explains Rabia Salama, the Head Nurse in Rambam’s Department of Emergency Medicine. “I have known him for over 20 years and everyone loved him – both patients and staff. He was energetic and passionate about his work, and was always ready to help. This is an enormous loss for our department,” shares Salama.
Firas’s coworkers in the Department of Emergency Medicine debated how best to honor his memory. “We considered a number of ideas, but then it was suggested that we donate a defibrillator to the village where Firas died. Looking back, the defibrillator could have saved his life, so this was not only a way to honor Firas’s memory, but also a way to raise awareness and possibly save the lives of others,” explains Salama.
Initial concerns that they would not raise enough money to cover the cost of the defibrillator proved unfounded –the funds were raised within 24 hours. “Rambam’s Department of Emergency Medicine staff walked on the same path as Firas – the path of saving lives. We understood that this was the most respectful and fitting way to honor the life of our beloved friend and colleague,” says Salama.
Once the defibrillator arrived at Rambam, Salama and Karim Shbat, Firas’s brother, met with Abed Albast-Kis, Head of the Nahef Local Council, to make the necessary arrangements for the defibrillator’s installation. During the meeting, which was held during Ramadan, Karim noted with great emotion, “Firas often told me about his work. He would talk about Rambam as if he were talking about his own family.” Karim quoted Firas from memory, adding, “Firas would always say, ‘This is the reason I get up every morning – to work at Rambam and to give to others.’”
Karim expressed his deep appreciation for the team’s thoughtful, vital donation. “Through your generosity and by giving from the heart, you are honoring Firas and providing our family and our village with warm memories. This is a heavenly gift that can help to save many lives.”