Haredim 'bluff' a boycott of Hadassah

Hadassah and Shaare Zedek Medical Center, the city's other major hospital, report no indications of a boycott.

hadassah ein karem 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
hadassah ein karem 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Although anonymous haredi groups have publicly claimed they are boycotting Jerusalem's two Hadassah-University Medical Centers (in Ein Kerem and on Mount Scopus) due to the Hadassah Medical Organization's handling of the "starved haredi toddler" case, on Tuesday both Hadassah and Shaare Zedek Medical Center, the city's other major hospital, reported no indications of a boycott. A Hadassah spokeswoman said that while there may have been a handful of haredim who had told Magen David Adom ambulance drivers to head for Shaare Zedek instead of Hadassah because of their "anger" over the affair, its emergency room has "not seen any decline" in the number of haredim coming for medical care in the past week. The spokeswoman for Shaare Zedek confirmed that it had not noted any increase in haredi patients coming to its own emergency room in the past week. Despite media reports that Hadassah wanted to "strike a deal" by discharging the three-and-a-half-year-old child or transferring him to another hospital in exchange for a cancellation of "the haredi boycott," the Hadassah spokeswoman said it would continue to treat the boy, whose physical condition has improved significantly since his mother was barred from the pediatrics ward two weeks ago. He has gained three kilos beyond his then seven-kilo bodyweight and is functioning much better. Channel 1 reported Tuesday night that the boy would be transferred to Tel Hashomer hospital by Thursday. The court that enabled the mother to be confined to a rabbi's house and undergo a psychiatric examination has the power to decide whether the child will be transferred, she said. Meanwhile, the Israel Pediatrics Society has issued a strong statement decrying "the ugly and dangerous attack on Hadassah pediatricians." The society, headed by Prof. Mati Berkovitz, said Hadassah physicians work devotedly for their patients around the clock, including weekends, and are viewed with respect by all sectors of the population, which come for and receive services, regardless of religion, race or sex. The society noted that during the intifada years, when Jerusalem was often targeted by terror attacks, its doctors displayed endless devotion and professional healing skills, and are doing the same now. The society "deeply respects Hadassah personnel" and offers its moral support to the doctors, who showed their alertness and professionalism by "diagnosing and treating the starved child." The society also called on Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman to voice and show his support for the hospital. Litzman is due to make a two-hour tour of the Ein Kerem hospital on Thursday, a visit that was scheduled before the current controversy.