STAFF TAKE a breather outside Hadassah-University Medical Center in the capital’s Ein Kerem. .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman sat on Thursday for the first time with parents of children with blood cancers, months after six leading doctors said they will leave the pediatric bone marrow transplant department at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem in less than two months.
Although the Health Ministry did not report on what occurred during the meeting in Tel Aviv that included director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov, a representative of five families who were there said they were glad Litzman finally met with them after they made “many requests” for such a meeting.
Litzman continued to refuse to allow Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center to open a department for the children’s ongoing care, even though the hospital is already performing autologous bone marrow-transplants (taken from the patient himself and processed).
The six highly skilled and praised physicians will apparently be joined by a number of residents in the Hadassah department who said they cannot continue to work there under the management of Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Prof. Zeev Rotstein, because of his decisions and his “besmirching” of department head Prof. Michael Weintraub and colleagues. Rotstein was appointed to run HMO due to pressure by Litzman.
Shlomo Ben-Dor, who spoke for the families, said they were glad that Litzman agreed to meet with them but upset that nothing concrete had come of it. “The minister reiterated that he wanted mediation to solve the dispute, but the doctors have rejected it outright.”
Litzman did not explain why he has refused to allow Shaare Zedek, which is willing to expand its department but has remained passive and not taken any action to bring this about, to perform bone-marrow transplants from suitable donors by hiring the six specialists. “Apparently Litzman does not take seriously the fact that on June 4, the children will have no one in Jerusalem to treat their cancers,” Ben-Dor said. “At least he heard our pain.”
No comment was received from the minister or HMO by press time.