|Mental health inmate rests in bed [illustrative] 370.(Photo by: REUTERS/Jianan Yu)|
Police detain staff over abuse at mental hospital
By DANIELLE ZIRI, JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Doctors, therapists among the 75 detained for suspected physical, sexual abuse of patients at Petah Tikva mental health institute.
Police arrested over 70 medical practitioners from a Petah Tikva private mental
health institute on Wednesday morning for allegedly abusing inmates over several
The suspects, among whom are doctors and therapists, are believed
to have committed sexual offenses, and to have beaten and tied to their beds
some of the 160 patients at the Neveh Yaakov facility, aged 20 to 70.
arrests resulted from an undercover investigation conducted over a period of
several months by Israel Police in collaboration with the Health and the Welfare
and Social Services Ministries.
The Health Ministry said that in April,
following complaints of violence and abuse against patients, the central
district psychiatrist decided to file a complaint with the police. The ministry
carried out surprise visits at Neveh Yaakov to determine whether anything
untoward was going on.
“We bury our son day after day; we are a
devastated family,” Dalia, whose 24-year-old son was a patient at the hospital,
told Army Radio. “We complained to the administrator, we told him that our son
said ‘mother, I have no strength,’ because they raised his medicine intake. He
doesn’t feel well, so I can’t take him home. They just abuse him.”
added: “We don’t sleep. We live in fear that tonight he will be hit or
they will inject him.”
Two hundred policemen participated in the raid on
Wednesday morning, which was lead by Police Chief Superintendent Sigal
“This is a case of abuse of helpless individuals,” Bar-Zvi said.
“They are very serious patients, some have mental disabilities, some have
cognitive disabilities, some have both, and there are also inmates with physical
Bar-Zvi explained that not all of the suspects detained for
interrogation are accused of abuse; some are suspected of knowing about the
events and not fulfilling their duty to report them to the
“We intend to bring justice to light and uncover what went
on within this very closed institution,” she added.
Commenting on the
case, Kadima MK Rachel Adatto attributed blame for the alleged abuse to a “lack
of government supervision, a pact of silence, inadequate funding and brutality
and evil by caretakers who have been arrested for questioning.”
physician who heads the Knesset Health Lobby, said a 50 percent cut in the Health and Welfare
Ministries’ funding for hospitalization of the chronically ill in public mental
health centers was directly responsible for the transfer of patients to private
The Health Ministry has temporarily taken over
responsibility for running the institution while police investigate the
The families of the patients were informed of the
A representative of the institute’s management said it would
cooperate with the police on the case.