Several violent incidents against medical personnel around the country have prompted calls for action on a recent bill that seeks to punish the perpetrators of such attacks.
An ear, nose and throat doctor at Sheba Medical Center was shouted at and hit by a patient at the hospital outpatient clinic on Tuesday after the man refused to wait for his turn. On Monday, a male nurse and female physician were attacked at Western Galilee Government Hospital in Nahariya.
In the Sheba-Tel Hashomer case, the police were called and arrested the suspect for questioning. Dr. Ze'ev Feldman, chairman of the hospital's doctors' committee, denounced the attack and decided to halt non-emergency work at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to hold an information meeting to protest the violence.
Dr. Yitzhak Ziv-Ner, chairman of the state doctors' union, said he regarded as very serious the continuing violence against medical personnel and called on the Health, Justice and Internal Security Ministries to get passed a bill tabled in the Knesset to reduce such violence through sanctions against attackers.
The private member's bill was prepared by Israel Beiteinu MK Alex Miller. It was approved two months ago in a preliminary vote and provides punishment for those not only who physically attack medical personnel but also use verbal violence or destroy hospital property. Violators would get a warning for a year; if during the following years he were to repeat his acts, he would not get treatment from that medical institution for three to six months (except for emergencies). There exists such a British law that - since it passed in 2000 - has significantly reduced the number of attacks on medical staffers, Miller said.