The Health Ministry’s legal adviser, Mira Huebner, has aroused the wrath of
Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein, the powerful director- general of the state-owned Sheba
Medical Center – the country’s largest hospital – by stating that hiring a
private midwife in a state-owned public hospital is forbidden.
issued her statement on Wednesday to heads of all government-owned hospitals,
stating that these hospitals’ websites and publications have offered patients
the opportunity to pay a fee to hire a private midwife, instead of just using
the midwife who is on-duty when labor becomes intense. It is illegal, ruled
Huebner, for patients in government hospitals or jointly owned government/
municipal hospitals to get preferential care via payment.
Huebner issued her ruling, Rotstein stated: “Again, we are witnessing harm
caused to public medicine, this time from the ministry’s legal
He noted that at Sheba, there is presently no private midwife
service, but complained: “Isn’t it enough that midwife/nurses are collapsing
from overwork? Isn’t enough that medical errors cannot be prevented under these
conditions?” Rotstein argued that such private services ease the burden on
midwives who are hospital employees.
The ministry’s director-general,
Prof. Ronni Gamzu, said Rotstein – who is accountable to Gamzu – and
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman “must get involved to prevent addition
and senseless harm to new mothers.”