Staffers at Western Galilee Government Hospital held a strike between 10 a.m. and noon on Monday after one of its female doctors was attacked in the intensive care unit by the relatives of a dying patient. The violent incident occurred at the hospital in Nahariya on Sunday.

When the doctor told the relatives that the patient was in terminal condition, family members held her tight and threw her against a wall. Male nurses on duty rescued her from the relatives, security personnel were called and a complaint was filed with the police. Fortunately, the doctor suffered only minor physical harm, but she was emotionally traumatized because she had devotedly cared for the patient for a long time, the hospital said.

Dr. Nimrod Rahamimov, head of the doctors’ committee, said that the attackers were primarily responsible for what happened, "and they must be punished, but in addition, the insufferable overcrowding contributes much to the atmosphere of anger and violence. In the intensive care unit, the occupancy is at 180 percent, and from the beginning of the year, the figure has not dropped lower than 150%."

He said that another reason for violence against hospital staffers is the lack of a permanent police presence in the state hospital. "Only if uniformed policemen are present, will attackers understand that the hospital is not a place for violence."

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