TV spots seek end to violence against medical personnel

IMA says it's apparently the first such public service announcement in the world.

After years of physical and verbal violence committed against medical staffers nationwide, the Israel Medical Association (IMA) has initiated a public service announcement on HOT and YES, calling for the end to such attacks in hospitals and clinics. The IMA said it is apparently the first public service announcement against such violence in the world. The 42-second clips were produced after Kaplan Medical Center urological surgeon Dr. Marius Gai was stabbed and almost killed half a year ago by an "unsatisfied" elderly patient who demanded surgery he did not need. Only now, after rehabilitation, has the surgeon returned to work at his Rehovot hospital. This case was the "last straw" for the IMA, as the government has allocated only meager funds for fighting violence and protecting medical staffers. The IMA said that in 2007 alone there were 315 reported cases of medical staffers being threatened or attacked verbally or physically - by patients or their relatives and friends - in hospitals. The public service ad, with the slogan "Violence Against Doctors Hurts Us All," is to appear on the Health Channel (43 on HOT cable and 29 on YES satellite), as well as on all Anneni Communications channels (Nickelodeon, the Good Life, Ego, Ego Total, Food and Travel) - but not on the broadcast TV channels 1 and 2. . The ad was filmed at Carmel Medical Center in Haifa and based on true stories. It shows a patient's relative waiting behind a glass door for the surgeon to tell him how an operation went. A heartbeat sound is accompanied by frightening newspaper headlines about yet another attack against doctors. In the end, the surgeon emerges to put his arm around the relative, while the narrator says: "They protect your health. Let's protect them!" The message, said the IMA, was to show the public the difficulties and doctors faced in their daily work, the relatives' natural anxiety and the message that violence was not the answer. "The campaign is an additional step in our long efforts to bolster the personal security of Israeli doctors," the IMA said. It is unthinkable that doctors are endangered [at their workplace]. "We are waiting for emergency programs to halt the despicable phenomenon of doctors and other medical staffers having to cope with threatened violence daily."