A committee appointed by the Health Ministry to investigate complaints by the family of the late Teva Pharmaceuticals’ industrialist Eli Hurwitz against Sheba Medical Center, where he died of cancer last year stated on Tuesday that there were no irregularities in his care.

“The medical treatment he received was carried out according to acceptable standards,” the committee – headed by ministry medical complaints commissioner Prof. Chaim Hershko said.

The committee said that the government hospital’s medical team in general, both doctors and nurses, “did not properly assess the seriousness of Hurwitz’s condition and thus communicated to his family a too-optimistic assessment.”

Some of the family’s complaints resulted from the gap between their expectations and the reality of his condition.

There was a need to better update the family on the seriousness of his prognosis, the committee said, adding that it was vital to remind the medical teams of the importance of matching the expectations of the family and the prognosis.

Hershko and his colleagues said that the role of the doctor in charge of the shift to respond to queries by the patient and his family should be set down clearly.

They found that results of blood tests taken one day were not made known to the doctors; this requires a new assessment of work habits.

The committee said that the case reflected the severe crowding and overwork in internal medicine departments and the lack doctors, nurses and intensive care beds. Despite this criticism, the committee said Hurwitz’s medical care was properly given.

Sheba management in Tel Hashomer said it accepted the recommendations made by the committee, including the need to improve communications between the patient and his family on the one hand and the medical team on the other. It will also revise work practices in the hospital’s departments. The hospital called on the Health Ministry to increase significantly the number of beds in internal medicine departments and manpower in intensive care units of public medical centers.

The hospital’s management, however, protested against the “gap” between the committee’s conclusions that the industrialist received acceptable treatment and its comments about the “weakness” of work practices in the department.

Hospital director-general Prof. Zeev Rotstein sent his condolences to the family and expressed his appreciation of Hurwitz, who was a Sheba supporter, but said it was unlikely that if an earlier assessment of his condition would have changed the unfortunate end result.”

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