Complaints up against Ichilov doctor

Police say doctor received money for referring patients for treatment.

dr. arieh finger 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
dr. arieh finger 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Amid growing numbers of accusations that he accepted bribes from patients to improve their health care services, Dr. Arieh Finer, a senior oncologist at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital took his case to the airwaves Wednesday in order to assert his innocence. In his own defense, the doctor cited 35 years of experience in the field, as well as the "dozens" of phone calls he has received from former patients offering their support after the allegations surfaced against him. Patients and families of cancer victims who had been treated by Finer added to the list of complaints publicized Tuesday, claiming that the doctor took bribes in exchange for giving patients preferential treatment as part of experimental studies and for speeding up their cancer treatments. Police said that in the 24-hour period since the story broke, they had received dozens calls by people making similar allegations. Initial police investigations indicated that Finer and one of the department nurses received kickbacks for each referral made to the experiments and received bribes from several drug companies in return for subscribing their products to patients. Finer, 56, was arrested on Tuesday along with the nurse after police raided his office in the hospital, removing documents and computers. Later that day, the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court remanded both suspects to six days of house arrest. In a series of radio and television interviews, Finer repeatedly implied that his accusers blamed him for the deaths of their family members who had been in his care while suffering from cancer. "Along the way anger builds up, many [family members] hold the doctor responsible for the failure of the medicine. Having said that, I can give a list of dozens of patients that would say the opposite," he said in an interview to Army Radio. "I am not a monster and the accusations against me are baseless. I did not send any patient to the experiment if I didn't think it would help," said Dr. Finer, adding, "A special committee approved each patient who was sent for the treatment." However, the officer in charge of the investigation, Chief Superintendent Avi Dayan, said that Dr. Finer's explanations were unacceptable. "The money reached his [Finer's] bank account in a number of ways, we don't accept his explanations," Dayan said. Police sources said that both Finer and the nurse would be charged with breach of trust and accepting bribes. Finer also reportedly sat on the review council of senior oncologists that advised the Ministry of Health as to which medications should be included in the Heath Basketa, and also served as an advisor to pharmacological giants Roche, Pfizer and Teva.