IDF recognizes irritable bowel syndrome as a disability

Appellate court finds dysentery suffered by soldier in 1993 can be linked to his IBS.

IDF SOLDIERS take part in a military exercise. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF SOLDIERS take part in a military exercise.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
he army has recognized irritable bowel syndrome as a disability, following the legal case of a former soldier who suffered from the syndrome during his service.
The man, who served as an IDF cook in 1993, suffered from severe dysentery during his military service and, as a result of the illness, began to suffer from a long list of digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, which is characterized by severe abdominal pains, gas odors, diarrhea and constipation.
The former soldier turned to the Defense Ministry to ask to be recognized as disabled due to his health problems but was rejected after being examined by a medical expert, who stated that it was not at all certain that he suffered from IBS, and that even if he did, it could not be linked to the dysentery he suffered during his service, as the pathogen of the syndrome is not bacterial.
After his request was rejected, he petitioned an appellate court through his lawyer, Yoav Almagor. According to Almagor, IBS “seriously damaged his [the soldier’s] quality of life and his mental state by making him ashamed and damaged his self-esteem.”
Almagor filed an appeal against the decision of the ministry’s Compensation Committee, in which he presented an expert medical opinion completely opposite of that of the ministry’s medical expert to the appellate court in Beersheba headed by retired judge Baruch Azulay.
According to gastroenterology expert Prof. Gabriel Dinari, who examined the appellant’s medical records, he had been diagnosed with IBS by a physician during his military service shortly after he suffered from dysentery.
While the cause of IBS is not always known, according to Dinari, who had also reviewed medical literature, IBS affects 5% to 10% of the population and can be caused by a bacterial infection such as dysentery.
Azulay accepted Dinari’s expert opinion, submitted by Almagor, and ordered the ministry to recognize IBS, from which the appellant suffers, as a disability resulting from his IDF service.
Azulay ruled IBS should be recognized as a disease that the appellant suffered during his military service and ordered the ministry to compensate him for his health problems to the tune of NIS 15,000.