Fevers rise over hospital thefts

Kfar Saba's Meir Hospital is facing an unpleasant rash of a non-medical variety, reports www.local.co.il. Patients hospitalized at Meir have been hit with a wave of thefts of personal belongings, in particular jewelry and watches, and at least one outraged relative has written to hospital managers and to Health Minister Ya'acov Ben-Yizri to complain. According to the report, the Herzliya resident fired off angry letters to the health minister, to hospital management and to the Clalit health fund after finding that valuable personal items disappeared every single time one of her elderly parents was hospitalized in recent years. In the first incident, her father's wristwatch disappeared while he was in hospital after a fall. Then her mother's wristwatch and wedding ring were stolen while she was in hospital after having suffered a stroke. The woman said complaints to the hospital had resulted in only a cursory search by security guards and the suggestion that she complain to police. In the final incident, after her father was hospitalized once again last year and then died in the hospital, his daughter discovered that his wedding ring had been removed and was nowhere to be found. "This is the third time that jewelry has disappeared from our parents during the course of their stays in Meir Hospital," the woman wrote to the authorities. "We demand an investigation… it is time to put an end to this scourge." No response was reported from the medical authorities, but a police spokesman said police were investigating the woman's complaints. The spokesman said police had recently caught a gang of thieves who had stolen "numerous items in dozens of incidents" in 12 hospitals in the center of the country, including Meir.