Medical residents report for duty after morning scare

Dozens of residents at Ichilov and Sheba Hospitals arrive at work after defying court suspension of their resignations in the morning.

doctor strike haifa_311 (photo credit: Piotr Fliter/Ramban Medical Center)
doctor strike haifa_311
(photo credit: Piotr Fliter/Ramban Medical Center)
Dozens of medical residents who failed to show up for their shifts at Ichilov and Sheba Hospitals Thursday morning showed up in the early afternoon, Army Radio reported, bending to a ruling by the National Labor Court. Doctors at Sheba Hospital announced their decision to suspend their resignations until Monday, in accordance with the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's request.
Their failure to report to work represented the first time that significant numbers of residents in a labor dispute did not show up for work since their mass resignation in September.
RELATED:Medical residents agree to postpone resignation by 48 hours
The absence of some 50 residents reportedly caused widespread confusion in the hospitals, despite the fact that most of the over 700 residents who initially resigned heeded Wednesday's court decision.
Poised to hand over their stethoscopes, cellphones and other equipment and say farewell to their patients on Thursday morning, they were prevented from doing so by National Labor Court President Nili Arad, who on Wednesday afternoon suspended the doctors’ resignation letters. The court was responding to an urgent request filed by the state for an emergency hearing.
The state previously argued that residents abandoning their posts at once would constitute an “illegal and forbidden strike” as defined in the Labor Court’s ruling in September, causing chaos and closing departments in the hospitals.
The Finance Ministry released a list of offers it had made to the medical residents that seemed generous enough to make the young physicians look stubborn and unwilling to reach a compromise. But despite the offers, the Treasury declared that the labor agreement it signed with the Israel Medical Association in late August would remain in force.