Disabled people protest abuse at Eitanim

'It's time the mentally ill became part of society, like elsewhere in the world'

February 24, 2006 13:06
1 minute read.
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Dozens of disabled persons gathered on Friday outside of Eitanim psychiatric hospital near Jerusalem to protest the reported abuse of mental patients by the hospital staff. At the demonstration, spokesman for the disabled persons' organization Yoav Kreim said that cases of patient abuse were common in Israeli psychiatric institutions. He asserted that it was time that the mentally ill became part of the community, as is customary in other places in the world. Israel Radio reported that some of the demonstrators recounted personal stories of their own abuse. One woman testified of an instance when the hospital staff suffocated a man until he lost consciousness in an attempt to subdue him. She said that she was suffocated by the same male nurse. "I would commit suicide and die rather to return to this place," she concluded. Earlier in the week the State Attorney's Office submitted an indictment against 11 of Eitanim's senior staff and employees. All 11 suspects have ceased working in the positions they held during the period covered by the indictment. Some are no longer working at the hospital. According to the indictment, former hospital director Ya'acov Margolin, deputy director Moshe Abramowitz, chief nurse Na'ama Dukshitzki and chief social worker Mariel Goldberg were accused of responsibility for all of the allegedly illegal actions committed by their underlings in the indictment, even though they did not perpetrate any of them themselves. The charges against them include abuse of a minor or helpless person and failure to report such an offense, both of which are violations of the Penal Code. The other charges in the indictment include descriptions of the treatment meted out to 12 of the 20 patients in the ward, those held responsible for the treatment and the specific charges against them.

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