When Adi Karmon Scope first put out a call for volunteers to help with personal chores at the homes of doctors, nurses and other medical staff on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle, she never imagined how successful the project would become.
A month after that initial posting on Facebook, Karmon Scope’s Adopt a Doctor program has amassed some 4,000 active volunteers and has triple that number of followers on social media.
The initial idea, which Karmon Scope launched with fellow entrepreneurs Aviad Shlain, Tal Laufer and Ruth Polachek, was based loosely on her current startup, called Crowdtasking. Volunteers would ensure all the personal needs of the medical staff were met — from home-cooked meals to dog walking and baby-sitting — by building their own social networks. Doctors would know they had a “very, very personalized safety net” so they could concentrate on the business of healing people, Karmon Scope said.
“I was looking at Italy and Spain, and I knew that we would be facing extreme uncertainties and unknowns,” she said. As such, she added, Adopt a Doctor was predicated on agility and flexibility. “Its decentralized nature and distant managerial approach are the secret to its success.”
Since then, Adopt a Doctor has morphed into Adopt a Hospital; today, there are volunteer networks in place for 20 hospitals around the country. The project’s volunteer network has tentacles and takes care of every need, from catering for the entire medical staff to sourcing and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to departments in need. Major food conglomerates, including Tnuva, Coca-Cola, Strauss and Nestle, have donated millions of shekels worth of food to hospital workers through Adopt a Doctor.
“[Adopt a Doctor’s] decentralized nature and distant managerial approach are the secret to its success.”
“There are a hundred things that are being taken care of in parallel that I don’t even know about,” Karmon Scope said.
Adopt a Doctor also takes care of healthcare professionals’ mental health. A professional service team offers emotional consultations for doctors and nurses. One doctor told Karmon Scope he was on the verge of an emotional breakdown until he spoke with a mental health professional through Adopt a Doctor. “He said, ‘I give people air all day long, but you guys gave me air supply.’ ”
Karmon Scope said the spirit of kindness, creativity and generosity generated by the project has overwhelmed her, but admitted she’s also overwhelmed by how much the system lacks resources. “I’m split between being happy and wondering what the day-after plan is. What then?” she said. “Do doctors go back into this? Are we dropping the ball?”