Attacks on personnel staff embitter Soroka staff [pg. 4]

Ten minutes after Soroka University Medical Center doctors halted sanctions on Sunday afternoon in protest against three incidents of verbal and physical violence against staffers last week, two men hit a nurse in the orthopedics department. Police came and arrested the attackers. Doctors' union head Dr. Yisrael Eillig said the sanctions - in the form of a Shabbat schedule in operating rooms, diagnostic institutes and outpatient clinics - were called off when the Beersheba hospital was alerted to wounded in Gaza. "Frightened doctors cannot provide optimal medical care," said an angry Eillig, who demanded that the Health Ministry take action. "Individual hospital management cannot do it alone," he said. Extra policemen brought to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin have managed to bring down violence against hospital staffers significantly, Eillig added. Last week, family members of one patient in the internal medicine department cursed a doctor, while in another, a relative attacked a doctor and two nurses. On Thursday, a mother who brought her child to the emergency room threw a telephone at a doctor, but fortunately, it did not hit its target. The Soroka doctors works committee insists on changes that would allow only one person to accompany a patient to an emergency room, provide more security and punish violators quickly. "It takes forever for police and the justice system to take action. Doctors and nurses realize that nothing will come of their complaints," Eillig said. "Maybe we should be taking self-defense courses."