Zero progress in Hadassah cancer unit dispute

Parents call Litzman’s new guidelines ‘spin’.

Hadassah Medical Center (photo credit: WWW.HADASSAH.ORG.IL)
Hadassah Medical Center
(photo credit: WWW.HADASSAH.ORG.IL)
The dilemma of some 300 children with blood cancers whose six senior oncologists and three medical residents are due to leave the pediatric hemato-oncology department on June 4 is far from resolution.
The doctors and the parents regard the solution recommended by Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and accepted by Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Prof. Zeev Rotstein as “mere spin.”
In addition, it was disclosed Thursday that 70% of the children under active treatment or medical follow-up are not Israelis but rather Palestinians or foreigners who came for care under medical tourism.
The ministry spokesman announced Thursday a number of technical guidelines for solving the Hadassah crisis, such as the children being treated separately from the adults and solely by pediatric hemato-oncology specialists.
Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov added that the guidelines were the “result of intensive work of professionals in the ministry aimed at giving the children the highest- level treatment. All fears raised by the doctors on the way the department is run have been answered in this document. We expect that the doctors will cancel their letters of resignation and return to work,” the director-general stated.
The Lavi voluntary organization disclosed that the foreign children being treated in the Hadassah department “come at the expense of Israeli children” suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other malignant diseases. This was revealed in a letter by Rotstein sent to the parents’ lawyer, Eliad Shraga. Lavi said only 12 children under active treatment are Israeli, compared to 21 from the Palestinian Authority and seven foreign tourists. Lavie said it was unthinkable that foreign children would get care “at the expense of Israeli children.”
Last week, Shraga claimed that Litzman and other ministry officials had “threatened” Shaare Zedek Medical Center director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy that the ministry would “cancel existing departments and take away budgets” if he didn’t declare that he was not ready to accept the fleeing physicians and open a bone-marrow transplant department for them at his hospital. The doctors had said months ago that they were resigning because they could not abide by Rotstein’s management policies, including the large number of foreign patients and his intention of unifying the treatment of pediatric and adult bone-marrow patients.