MEDICAL STAFFERS at Jerusalem’s Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem discuss yesterday’s call to strike..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday announced it is considering bringing criminal charges against the former director of Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem and five doctors and other hospital staffers for recklessness and negligence that endangered human life. A hearing will be held before a decision is made, the office added.
According to the charges, a carbon dioxide tap was installed in one of the hospital’s operating rooms. When anesthesiologist Dr. Yuval Meroz saw the faucet, which looked very similar to the oxygen tap, he warned that this might cause dangerous errors and harm to patients in surgery. He turned to his superior and warned of the risks posed by the tap, but nothing was done to remove it, the attorney’s office said.
On January 23, 2011, the tap was used by mistake, as Meroz had warned, in an operation on a one-year-old baby. He suffered complications during the surgery, and he was ventilated with the harmful gas rather than oxygen. At the end of the operation, he remained unconscious after suffering brain damage.
The office stressed that none of the six Hadassah employees “had directly caused harm to the baby, as from the evidence, the cause of the damage during the operation was not clear.”
The statement continued that, even though all the suspects were “aware of the erroneous use of the CO2 faucet, it remained attached to the wall in the operating theater for another four more months, even though Meroz continued to warn several times about the continuing risk.
The suspects in the case are Dr. Yuval Weiss, former director of the Ein Kerem hospital, who is now medical director of Meuhedet Health Services’ Jerusalem district; Dr. Oz Shapira, who was head of the cardiothoracic surgery department; Dr. Charles Weissman, who was head of the anesthesia branch of the hospital; Dr.
Yoram Weiss, who was head of the hospital’s anesthesia department; Dr. Yitzhak Kra, a nurse who was director of the operating rooms “even though he was not authorized to do so by the hospital; and Dr. Giora Landsberg, who was an anesthesiologist in the cardiothoracic surgery department and was the anesthesiologist who was involved in the baby’s the operation.
Asked to comment, the Hadassah spokeswoman said the hospital took the opportunity to “again apologize sincerely for the damage done to the boy and his family.”
Since the tragedy, she continued, “all the lessons were learned and all changes required to prevent such an incident from happening again were made.”
The Hadassah Medical Organization hopes that after the hearing, “the Jerusalem district attorney will decide not to file charges against those involved. One must remember that each of them takes with him this painful incident night and day, and he should consider the special case of error in such a terrible accident that we all regret.”