Sourasky Medical Center .
(photo credit: courtesy)
The Hotline for Migrant Workers announced on Tuesday that two migrants, Izak
Asido and Plomina Agavo, filed a lawsuit for NIS 132,000 with the Tel Aviv
Magistrate’s Court against Sourasky Medical Center alleging discrimination when
they came to the hospital on September 3, 2011, seeking care for one of their
two small children.
According to a press release, the family was
segregated from the rest of the patients, locked in a separate room for three
hours and forced to wear masks during their entire stay in the
The “degrading treatment also manifested in prejudicial
statements uttered by the hospital’s staff,” the statement continued.
of the nurses falsely claimed to the plaintiff-father that “according to the
law, Africans who arrive at the hospital have to be segregated from Israelis,”
according to the complaint.
It added that one of the doctors explained
“there is a problem with foreign workers coming with all sorts of diseases,”
“there are serious problems with diseases from Africans” and that it was
possible that one of their sons had measles.
Next, the statement said
that the father, Izak, tried to explain that he was an Israeli resident, that
his children were born in Israeli hospitals, are insured by an Israeli health
fund and received all the shots children are supposed to take, but was ignored
by the medical staff.
The complaint also says that general efforts to
confront the hospital about discriminatory policies have been rejected in a
According to the lawsuit, the hospital violated the
Prohibition of Discrimination in Products, Services and Entry into Public Places
Law, and the directives in the Patient Rights Act that forbid discrimination and
demand that patients’ dignity must be maintained during treatment. The complaint
also lists several other grounds for damages.
The hospital established a
number of special procedures in dealing with migrants, with the Health
Ministry’s consent, several months ago.
After past complaints about
performing X-rays that migrant patients objected to, a hospital spokesman
essentially justified the procedures as allegedly required medically, since, for
example, tuberculosis is endemic in African countries, an X-ray to rule out the
disease “protects the mother as well as other patients.” Since the regulation
was put into effect, four women with “active TB” have been identified, the
spokesman said at the time, in justifying the X-rays and other special
But lawyer Hisham Shabita from the Human Rights Clinic at Tel
Aviv University, who is representing the plaintiffs, said that “this case points
to an egregious practice of discrimination between people solely for the color
of their skin.”
“This phenomenon is especially reprehensible considering
the fact that this case revolves around medical care provided by one of the
largest hospitals in Israel, and that there was absolutely no medical
justification of the discriminatory treatment the plaintiffs endured,” Shabita
said.Judy Siegel contributed to this report.