Bikur Cholim staffers plead to keep hospital going

J'lem hospital could be run without debts if it were stabilized with a NIS 30m. requested state allotment.

December 20, 2010 03:51
1 minute read.
Bikur Cholim staff protest for gov't funds

Bikur Cholim Protest 311. (photo credit: Yossi Lipsitz)

More than 200 doctors, nurses and other staff members and their families at Jerusalem’s Bikur Cholim Hospital demonstrated in the center of town on Sunday to plead for a NIS 30 million state grant to keep the hospital from closing in two weeks.

The demonstration was held at the corner of Jaffa Road and Rehov Strauss, the intersection where – on August 9, 2001 – they saved lives following the suicide bombing in the Sbarro restaurant that killed 15 civilians and wounded 130. As the only hospital in the city center, Bikur Cholim staffers ran to the site when they heard the massive explosion a block away and immediately treated victims.

The protesters wore white coats and held stretchers as if to say that this time, the hospital needed to be rescued.

Bikur Cholim, which had suffered from poor management over the years, the abandonment by owner Arkadi Gaydamak and even alleged theft by the former head of the voluntary organization that ran it, has 700 employees and 200 inpatient beds. The staff have in recent months made a NIS 1.1m.-a-month loan from their salaries to management to keep the hospital running, but this cannot continue.

Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said Bikur Cholim could be run without debts if it were stabilized with the NIS 30m. requested state allotment.

The Treasury has so far remained mum, while the Health Ministry supports the continuation of the hospital’s operations but has no money to give. The staffers called on Prime Minister and Health Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to intervene immediately.

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