Meir Hospital medical residents start hunger strike

Following Labor Court injunction barring residents from striking on their own, new forms of protest break out at hospitals across country.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
July 21, 2011 13:27
1 minute read.
Empty hospital corridor [illustrative]

Hospital beds 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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As part of the ongoing doctors' work dispute, medical residents at Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba opened up in a hunger strike on Thursday.

At Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva,  Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer and Shalvata Hospital in Hod Hasharon residents massed into emergency rooms, complaining of exhaustion and asking to be checked.

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The new forms of protest came after the National Labor Court decided late Wednesday night to issue an injunction against rebelling medical residents clamoring to strike on their own – without permission from the Israel Medical Association (IMA).

Israel Radio reported that legal authorities were present at hospitals on Thursday, ensuring that the residents protest activities do not violate the terms of the injunction.

On Wednesday, hundreds of medical residents walked out of hospitals in most of the country in protest against a potential agreement to end the labor dispute between the Israel Medical Association and the Treasury.

Residents abandoned their respective departments at Barzilai, Assaf Harofeh, the Rabin Medical Center- Beilinson Campus, Meir, Wolfson, Sheba, Rambam Medical Center and Shalvata hospitals.

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For the second day in a row, the IMA found itself the opponent of not only the Treasury negotiators, but also of many young medical residents and interns, who are the lowest on the medical totem pole, earning the least and working the longest hours.

A group of these have organized themselves into a non-profit organization called Mirsham (literally “prescription”) and hired lawyer Tal Keret, head of the labor law department in the Zissman-Aharoni-Geyer Law Office, to represent them “in their struggle.”

The young IMA rebels maintain that the senior physicians represent the interests of specialists and other veteran physicians more vigorously, and are not doing enough to reduce the number of night and weekend shifts filled by the residents and interns.

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich contributed to this report.

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