‘The hospitals are an asset the Finance Ministry bled dry'

Orthopedics specialist Dr. Charles Migrom tells 'The Jerusalem Post' why the doctors have had enough: "working conditions at the hospitals as completely unbearable, bordering on the ludicrous."

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October 12, 2011 06:28
3 minute read.
CHARLES MIGROM

CHARLES MIGROM 311. (photo credit: Hadassah)

 
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Dr. Charles Migrom is fed up with the work conditions at Israeli hospitals.

The orthopedics specialist from Hadassah University Hospital spoke to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, days after he joined over 400 of Israel’s medical residents and tendered his resignation to the hospital.

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The Chicago native, who made aliya in 1982, described the working conditions at the hospitals as completely unbearable, bordering on the ludicrous.

“We’re so used to the abnormal here, that we think it’s normal. We work in a setup where every day is a crisis, where you have to think about how to get your cases done and usually you don’t get them accomplished and eventually you get used to just giving mediocre service,” he said.

“Some days it falls into place and you give good service, but it’s a case of roulette, chance.”

Some 470 medical residents have resigned as part of a labor dispute over work conditions and salaries. The situation has led to large-scale cancellations of non-urgent procedures at hospitals across the country.

On Tuesday, a representative for the residents said that an offer by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to end the strike is insufficient and does not meet their needs.

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Migrom described a typical day as being a constant battle of catch-up, in which doctors try to finish their cases on time, only to have the hospital push the cases back for the night crew.

“What the hospital does is that they know you don’t have enough time during the day, so they push it off to the night and you just try to get done what you can. You’re always negotiating for the operating room and every day is a battle.”

According to Migrom, the current situation is one in which the abnormal has become normal, and “the doctors inside the cuckoo’s nest don’t realize what is crazy any more.

“There was a case of a patient who was waiting for surgery for five nights in a row and they kept canceling it over and over, and so his family gets very upset and makes a mess and threw things around the room.

“A doctor said to me, ‘Who are these people, what are they doing?’ but the thing is, they’re the ones who are normal, reacting like that after the surgery was canceled five times.”

Migrom said that the reason more older doctors weren’t taking part in the protests or tendering their resignations is because “they found their niche, they found their equilibrium and they continue on. I don’t think anyone would actually say it’s a good medical system.”

Migrom has advised his daughter, a doctor in the general medicine department at Hadassah, to leave the hospital and entertain other options.

She has other options, and he wouldn’t rule out her moving to the US to pursue medicine there.

“It would hurt her to move back to the [US], but I don’t see that these bastards are leaving any room open [for her].”

His daughter “is locked up in a bad contract with a government that doesn’t care and are straightforward liars,” he said.

Migrom added that in his opinion, the government must recognize that not only are doctors feeling pushed out of the medical field by the conditions in Israel; they may also feel pulled by better conditions abroad.

“There’s a shortage of doctors in the world, and free market Bibi [Netanyahu], doesn’t he realize that?” Migrom asked.

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