Corona: Police investigating 'medical malpractice' at Mishan senior center

Health Ministry appoints Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center's CEO to lead initiative focused on saving seniors in nursing homes

Shalom Michael Jackson was infected with coronavirus while living in the Beersheba Mishan home for the elderly  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Shalom Michael Jackson was infected with coronavirus while living in the Beersheba Mishan home for the elderly
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Police have opened an investigation into complaints of medical malpractice made by the relatives of residents at the Mishan senior living center in Beersheba, according to N12. As of Friday, 13 former residents have died of COVID-19.
Last week, N12 reported that the families were planning to sue Mishan’s management company and the Health Ministry for medical malpractice. So far, the name of only one relative is on the suit, though others are expected to join.
The Health Ministry identified weeks ago that Israel’s 260,000 senior living center residents are at the highest risk of becoming fatally ill with COVID-19. The ministry appealed to the Home Front Command, which is now acting.
Furthermore, just before Passover, the ministry changed its testing policy in senior living facilities and is now testing everyone if one person – staff or resident – becomes infected. On Passover 3,000 tests were conducted in senior living centers, but many argue that these moves were too little, too late.
Former geriatric center residents now constitute around 30% of all coronavirus deaths in Israel. For example, in addition to the five residents so far who died from Mishan over Passover, two more people passed away from the senior center in Yavniel, bringing the death toll there to five.
Multiple residents have also died from the Nofim Tower assisted-living facility in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood, among others.
N12 reported that the family members say neglect led to their relatives becoming sick with the respiratory disease. They claim that the medical staff and Health Ministry did not screen or even isolate residents after the initial patients were diagnosed with coronavirus. Moreover, it took them too long to diagnose the first patients who complained of pain and fever.
The results, according to the lawsuit, were many sick and dead residents.
Mishan told N12 that it is unaware of the lawsuit and believes that if it does exist, it is unfounded.
“There is no justification for opening the investigation,” Mishan said in a statement on Friday. “Mishan’s medical staff accurately followed the Health Ministry’s guidelines from the beginning of the crisis.”
According to the statement, the company’s CEO asked the Health Ministry to test all residents, but the ministry stalled on moving this forward.
“We demand that the Health and Defense ministries take responsibility for the fate of the elderly population who are in these homes,” Mishan concluded.
Late Saturday, the Health Ministry appointed Ronni Gamzu, CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and a former Health Ministry director-general, to head up a new initiative focused specifically on how to handle the coronavirus outbreak in senior facilities.
“The immediate challenge is to keep our parents, those who built this country, safe in their nursing homes,” Gamzu said. “I am very familiar with the challenges and objective difficulties of this event, and I believe in the effectiveness of our geriatric teams - together we can handle this and bring about  immediate, life-saving results."