Parents protest Hadassah closure of pediatric oncology unit

Parents whose children are being treated for blood cancers are demanding that Netanyahu intervene in the dispute, arguing that Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman “has left our children to face death.”

May 15, 2017 17:18
1 minute read.
protest at Hadassah-University Medical Center

‘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)

Parents of some 300 children have scheduled a protest for Tuesday afternoon at the Prime Minister’s Residence against the planned closure of Hadassah-University Medical Centers’ pediatric hemato-oncology unit.

The parents whose children are being treated for blood cancers or follow-up are demanding that the prime minister intervene in the dispute, arguing that Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman “has left our children to face death.”

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Litzman, who appointed former Sheba Medical Center director-general Prof. Zeev Rotstein as Hadassah Medical Organization director-general, has refused to license the capital’s competing Shaare Zedek Medical Center to open such a department, which could practically be arranged in about four or five months but not immediately.

The chairman of the Hadassah department, Prof. Michael Weintraub, and five other physicians along with three residents will leave at the beginning of June. They have major disputes with Rotstein over his policies and behavior, including the unification of adult and pediatric hemato-oncology departments and admitting foreign children for bone marrow transplants there and his alleged public denigration of them.

Representatives of youth movements such as Bnei Akiva and the Scouts are also expected to be at the demonstration and carry signs denouncing Litzman and Rotstein.

The parents’ group also criticized Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Monday, charging that by refusing to back them in their struggle to get medical care for their children, he is “behaving in a shameful and improper matter.

“He is acting like the last of the politicians and refusing again and again. He suggested meeting us after Jerusalem Day, but in another two weeks, our children will remain without treatment,” they said.

“He should have initiated a struggle on behalf of children in his city,” they argued.

The Jerusalem Municipality commented that “the mayor and his office are in contact with all sides in order to find suitable solutions for the patients and for Jerusalem. The mayor calls on the health minister to ensure the well-being of the sick children and their health in any situation.”

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