"There are many things at which women are superior, but when it comes to speed and physical strength, which are both of the essence in a medical emergency, it is a proven fact that men have an advantage..." -Heshy Jacobs, Chevra Hatzalah Executive Board
I’m putting this here and on my personal blog because it’s something I feel strongly about as a medic, a woman, and a Jew who lived in the Orthodox setting for a long time.
For those not aware, Hatzolah is a volunteer organization that responds to medical problems in the Orthodox communities in NY. They’ve been around for 50+ years and do an admirable job of balancing religious rules with the need to act in an emergency situation.
A group of Orthodox women want to start their own verision of Hatzolah that would be all female and would respond to OB and gynecological emergencies only. There has been a large amount of backlash against their efforts by many in their community.
This bothers me greatly as a woman who works as not only a paramedic but as a fire fighter. I have never had to let my male counterparts take the lead because I just couldn’t handle it. As a Jew who came from the same setting these women are in it bothers me that anyone would block this. Modesty is paramount to these women. Many will never lay a hand on a man who isn’t a member of their family and they certainly don’t want multiple male strangers, despite being medical workers, watching them give birth.
I think the above quote is the crux of argument against what these women want to do.
This is not only arrogant and insulting to the women who want to assist in a way that is in line with their religious rules but to every woman who works in emergency medicine.
Mr. Jacobs, that line of thinking is far outdated. Look around you. Women work in every emergency field now and you don’t see it delaying their response time.