‘LITZMAN AND ROTSTEIN are killing our children out of greed!’ say the two signs on the left during the protest at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Scores of parents of children with blood cancer whose doctors at Hadassah-University Medical Center are resigning due to dissatisfaction with Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Prof. Zeev Rotstein demonstrated on the Ein Kerem campus against him and Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman on Wednesday.
The parents demanded: “Don’t kill our children in order to save money.” They were referring to the HMO director-general’s decision – as a cost-saving measure – last year to close the pediatric hemato-oncology department headed by Prof. Michael Weintraub and united it with the adult hemato-oncology department, a step that Weintraub and five other senior oncologist said would cause great harm to the children. They resigned several months ago and are due to leave the department in exactly a month. No other pediatric hemato-oncology department in the country combines the two.
They denounced Litzman, who selected Rotstein to head the Hadassah Medical Organization, because he refuses to allow the opening of a bone-marrow transplant department at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Weintraub and the five others, as well as numerous medical residents in the department, want to transfer en masse to the competing hospital and work together as a well-oiled team. If not, they will be forced to disperse among other hospitals around the country.
Uri Yakir, the father of four-yearold Adi who has leukemia and is being treated in Weintraub’s department, said that the doctors there are “angels who give the children their utmost devotion.” He charged that Litzman and Rotstein “prefer to treat children from abroad through medical tourism and earn millions at our children’s expense.”
After months of refusals to meet them, Litzman received a delegation of parents but suggested only a process of mediation, which the doctors had refused beforehand.
The parents said Rotstein intends for the children to be treated by the short-term rotation of oncologists from other hospitals who are not permanent staffers. They argued that Litzman could “solve the problem in a moment” by allowing Shaare Zedek to open a department for the fleeing doctors but that he refuses in order to show backing for Rotstein.
The parents have raised money via the Internet to file a petition against Litzman in the High Court of Justice.
No comment was received either from the Health Ministry or the HMO.