High Court rules Shaare Zedek cannot open pediatric hematology-oncology department

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said he was committed to the carry out the court’s decision and called on all sides to strengthen the Hadassah department.

July 10, 2017 04:36
1 minute read.

Shaare Zedek Hospital. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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The High Court of Justice has rejected the appeal of the parents of children with cancer who demanded that a new pediatric hemato-oncology department be opened at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The ruling on Sunday night makes it possible for the Hadassah Medical Organization to try to rehabilitate its own department with new staffers from outside, given the apparent refusal of nine resigning physicians to return to Hadassah. Alternately, the parents may decide to continue treatment for their children in other hospitals in the center of the country.

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The doctors who had previously treated the children resigned on June 4, protesting against what they claimed were the “objectionable policies and behavior” of Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Prof. Zeev Rotstein.

While the court had been willing for two or three of the senior oncologists to treat some of the children at Shaare Zedek until the end of the year, the hospital’s director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy said afterward that he would decide whether it was worthwhile for him to temporarily take in the few former Hadassah oncologists.

“We respect the decision of the ruling,” said Halevy. “But unfortunately, the ministry’s position toward the doctors, the parents and SZMC was accompanied by manhandling without compassion, and resulted in no solution to the unprecedented crisis in Israeli medicine being found. Our feeling of standing by without being able to help solve a human crisis was so difficult – Shaare Zedek has the right to contribute to its solution, as ethics and the physician’s oath require. We have a heavy feeling that the considerations that directed the ministry are puzzling, to say the least.”

The parents, and the doctors led by Prof. Michael Weintraub, had hoped but failed to overturn the Health Ministry’s refusal to allow Shaare Zedek to open a new department and hire the physicians. The bitter struggle went on for eight months – with the physicians resigning on June 4 and the subsequent pitching of a protest tent in the capital’s Sacher Park – while week-long mediation efforts by former Supreme Court justice Elyakim Rubinstein failed.

Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman said he was committed to the carry out the court’s decision and called on all sides to strengthen the Hadassah department.

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