The family of 97-year-old Holocaust survivor Shimon Reinzilber, who died because of COVID-19 after contracting the virus at the Mishan senior living facility in Beersheba, raged against what they see as profound neglect of the elderly by the facility, Maariv reported on Wednesday.
Reinzilber died at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba on Wednesday morning. At the time of writing, 10 Mishan residents died from the virus.
“He died alone, with no one by his side,” his grandson Oren told the paper, “my grandfather was a Holocaust survivor from Poland and he was among the first 17 families who arrived to Beersheba in 1949. He came on the ship Hatikva (the hope).”
He said that for a month, family members were not allowed to meet him at Mishan and that his grandfather was asked to move back and forth between Mishan, where he lived, and Soroka Medical Center for tests.“He returned to Mishan after he got a negative result,” Oren said. “That was the biggest mistake of our lives.”
He claimed that the foreign worker provided by the family to assist his grandfather attempted to get him help and was ignored by Mishan, who only agreed to release him to an apartment Oren rented for him in Beersheba.
Even then, Oren explained, they checked his grandfather for the virus but not the worker who was with him 24 hours a day.
Reinzilber was taken to the hospital from the apartment and died there, three months after the death of his wife.
“He said he would only live for three months without her,” his grandson said. “He also asked not to sit shiva for him because he didn’t want to bother anyone.”
While he said that coronavirus was “the bullet that killed my grandfather,” he added that “Mishan pressed the trigger, they killed eight more before him and will kill more after him. It is a state-backed concentration camp.”
Mishan declined to respond to the report, saying that when a family is grieving they don’t wish to add to their suffering and added that perhaps the grandson is “unaware of all the facts.” The Association for Elderly People's Homes is currently seeking the help of the Supreme Court against the Health Ministry for what they claim is a refusal by the ministry to test elderly people and workers for the coronavirus, a lack of medical gear and a lack of disinfectant. According to the association, hospitals are first in line for all these things while they are expected to pay for them out of pocket.