Dr. Gabby Elbaz-Greener is nothing if not determined. It’s a trait that may have saved her life once, and it’s served her well ever since.
Twenty years ago, she was taking a bus to school in Jerusalem, where she was studying to be an occupational therapist. Her life changed forever that day, when a suicide bomber blew himself up aboard the bus. Lying on the ground, bleeding profusely with two severed arteries, she remembers thinking that she didn’t want to die alone.
“I wanted an hour to say goodbye to my family. I was begging with my eyes for someone to save my life,” remembers Dr. Elbaz-Greener. “A man took me from the bus and put his T-shirt around my neck. He told me after, ‘Looking at your eyes, I couldn’t leave you.’” The surgeon who performed 10 hours of surgery to save her life told her he was surprised she survived. Afterward, it was a long, difficult road to recover her physical and mental abilities.
Dr. Elbaz-Greener completed her bachelor of arts in occupational therapy, then immediately began studying to be a physician. “Knowing that every day I can save a life was my motivation,” she says. “I realized that life is temporary. When you really realize this, you do better with your life.”
She has trained in internal medicine, cardiology, sports medicine, hyperbaric medicine, health-system management and now interventional cardiology – the latter a rarity for a woman. “People told me, ‘There’s a lot of stress, a lot of hours. It’s a physical job.’ I said, ‘I don’t see a problem with any of that.’” Dr. Elbaz-Greener laughs, “Nothing will stop me.”
The mother of three is enjoying her two-year interventional cardiology fellowship at Sunnybrook, noting that “it’s really a good program.” Surviving the blast irrevocably altered Dr. Elbaz-Greener’s path. “This is my motivation. I know that I need to do good things in my life.”