The authority, responsibilities and limitations of paramedics must be set down in law, Kadima MK and physician Rachel Adatto said on Sunday.

Adatto spoke after the family of actor and producer Doron Nesher charged that Magen David Adom ambulance staffers refused to evacuate him from his home after he suffered a stroke. MDA countered that it it was Nesher who refused to be taken to the hospital.

His family took him by car to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba after – they claimed – MDA refused to take him to a hospital.

When it became clear that he needed intensive care, he was transferred to the Rabin Medical Center- Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva. Nesher was reportedly in very serious condition.

Adatto said that MDA paramedics are often in a dilemma. About 20 percent of all patients who need to be evacuated to hospital refuse to be taken. Thus, if the patient needs urgent medical care and refuses to be hospitalized, the paramedic is on the one hand exposed to lawsuits regarding inadequate treatment if he does not evacuate the patient, and on the other hand may be exposed to lawsuits if he acts against the patient’s will.

The Patients’ Rights Law (1996) gives the individual autonomy over his body and health. If the patient is unconscious and unaware of his condition, he can be hospitalized without permission being granted.

Adatto previously initiated a bill that would allow forced hospitalization of anorexic adults if their lives were endangered without care. If the bill, which passed a preliminary vote in the Knesset, becomes law, people who starve themselves would have to be hospitalized. At present, only minors in this situation can be hospitalized against their will.

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