Israeli Medical Association starting two-day strike to protest assault of doctor

The chairman of the Israeli Medical Association announced a two-day strike after a man hit a doctor with an iron bar in Be'er Ya'acov.

Protest against violence towards medical staff at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, May 19, 2022 (photo credit: SHAARE ZEDEK MEDICAL CENTER)
Protest against violence towards medical staff at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, May 19, 2022
(photo credit: SHAARE ZEDEK MEDICAL CENTER)

The Israeli Medical Association will hold a two-day general strike on Thursday and Friday in all hospitals and community clinics following an unusual incident of violence that took place on Tuesday night in Be'er Ya'acov in which a man beat a doctor.

As part of the planned strike, participants will only go to work on Saturday. "In the past year, we have unequivocally clarified that any case of violence will be met with zero tolerance on our part," said IMA chairman Prof. Zion Hagai. "As long as we do not see real actions in the immediate term, we will intensify the steps until someone here wakes up and understands that violence in the health system is a real epidemic."

Police arrested a Be'er Ya'acov resident suspected of lightly injuring the doctor with an iron bar. According to the allegations, a city resident in his thirties came to the clinic to receive medical treatment and after refusing to leave the treatment room, he hit the doctor's head with an iron bar.

As a result of the attack, the doctor was evacuated to Sheba Medical Center. Meanwhile, Ramla police officers arrested the suspect for questioning, and the police intend to bring him to court tomorrow for a request to extend his detention. "The Israel Police considers the attack on public employees to be serious and, in accordance with the strategy of the Central District, will [work to use the full power of the law against it]," it was reported.

"We are shocked by the case of severe violence against the doctor," the Clalit health center management said. "The teams provide dedicated care and the cycle of violence must stop immediately. We will not accept a reality in which medical teams are exposed to severe violence every day. We demand that all relevant authorities join hands and act resolutely and without compromise to eradicate the phenomenon."

MEDICAL STAFF at Hadassah-Mount Scopus Hospital in Jerusalem assemble last month and hold placards, declaring a strike and protesting violence against hospital personnel. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)MEDICAL STAFF at Hadassah-Mount Scopus Hospital in Jerusalem assemble last month and hold placards, declaring a strike and protesting violence against hospital personnel. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

"This reality cannot continue. Violence against medical staff has become a national scourge that we must not put up with."

Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash

Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ash said that "this reality cannot continue. Violence against medical staff has become a national scourge that we must not put up with. We will do everything possible to protect the medical staff. We cannot continue to be miserable and [we must] raise a hand against them [the perpetrators of violence]. I call on the State Attorney's Office and the judiciary to apply the law to its fullest extent."

Prior incidents

About two weeks ago, a patient at HaEmek Medical Center attacked a worker, broke a window and left. The hospital's security personnel were called to the scene. They detained the young woman and called the police, who arrested her. The worker who was attacked was injured in the hand and was taken to the hospital's emergency department.

This incident occurred just a day after the government had approved police units to be stationed at all hospitals across the country following numerous incidents of violence against staff at several medical centers. The police said that the plan will be implemented by the end of the first quarter of 2023, in about a year and a half. If the government collapses, the mandate will still be in force and a new government ruling will be needed to change it.

About three weeks ago, medical staff in Israel began protesting against violence against them. The protest was announced following a violent outburst by a patient's family against staff in the intensive care unit at Hadassah Medical Center, Mount Scopus.

Another incident of violence took place at Galil Hospital in Nahariya, during which staff were attacked by the family of a young man who was killed in a car accident. Hours after the protest, a doctor in the emergency room at Wolfson Hospital in Holon was attacked by a patient who beat him and broke his glasses.