“It is my responsibility to provide quality medical care, and that Friday evening, we were not successful,” said Prof. Ronni Gamzu, head of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. “I take responsibility.”
The former coronavirus commissioner, who spent three months at the forefront of the country’s battle against COVID-19, was responding to the tragic death of 47-year-old Moshe Harazy from the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood of Tel Aviv. He died Friday night when his ventilator's breathing tube detached and staff did not catch it in time.
As a result, the medical center reduced its general care beds to add more staffing support to its coronavirus units.
Gamzu told KAN Radio that he will “try very hard to visit the family and offer a personal explanation.” He said he went to visit his own staff already and to strengthen them over the weekend.
“It is very complex,” he told the radio station. “Such a thing should not happen, and we will all learn a lesson. I will not lie – the heavy caseload is taking its toll.”
Israeli hospitals have been bursting at their seams in recent weeks, opening additional coronavirus units as the daily patient count continues to climb.
As of Sunday morning, nearly 2,000 people were being treated in Israel’s hospitals, including more than 1,200 in serious condition. Some 272 were intubated.
“You always need to make sure that there is someone watching,” Gamzu admitted. He said that this “medical malfunction” led to a loss of life about which he is very sorry.
“I immediately thought to myself that I, as hospital director, was in the wrong,” he added. “Every moment, difficult decisions have to be made.”
He added that if a family member were sitting next to the patient, something like this would not happen, but in the era of coronavirus, “it is not practical.”
Harazy leaves behind a wife and five children.