Letters to the Editor April 20, 2020: Treating patients unequally

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
Treating patients unequally
Regarding “Ethical ideals and the virus” (April 16), I am dismayed by Rabbi Cherlow’s contention that “Jewish ethical perspective demands that we hold actors responsible in a way that the attacker and victim should not be expected to be treated equally.” Rabbi Cherlow goes on to say that nevertheless, “a doctor cannot make those decisions in the heat of the moment” and therefore must give equal treatment to all.
This implies that in an ideal world physicians and other health providers should withhold treatment or provide lesser treatment for those who violate the law. Hogwash!
Cherlow’s perspective violates the ethical values of physicians in our mission to save lives. Patients who come to us for help need to know that it will be provided to them regardless of the cause of their injury or sickness, whether it was acquired in violation of the law or not.
Our mission is not to sit in judgment on our patients. It is to save lives and ameliorate illness. Surely the Jewish ethical perspective must recognize this.
Zichron Yaakov
Chinese WHO dunnit
World leaders slam Trump’s halt to WHO funding” (April 16) and related information reveal that the director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is a corrupt ex-terrorist and that WHO activities under his leadership are worse than useless.
He is the first director-general of WHO not trained as a medical doctor. As a senior member of the Ethiopian Tigray People’s Liberation Front, listed as a terrorist organization by the US government in the 1990s, he was personally responsible for brutal repression, including torture and disappearances. He used aid money to starve the Amhara people, and deny them access to basic services. While health minister of Ethiopia (2005–2012) he covered up three cholera epidemics in his country, endangering surrounding countries. What he called “acute watery diarrhea” was cholera. He was personally involved in the kidnapping and rendition from Yemen of an Ethiopian dissident, Andargachew Tsege.
China, where the coronavirus pandemic originated, has been praised by the WHO, despite the fact that, while patients showed symptoms of the virus in early December, the Chinese government barred medical professionals from sounding the alarm. Beijing ordered that doctors halt tests, destroy samples, and cover up the news. Dr. Li Wenliang, was arrested and forced to confess to “illegal behavior” for warning about the dangers of the virus.
Tedros said in early February that there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade.” Obviously, his election to be director-general of the WHO was a purely political act, with no regard for world health.
Beit Zayit
In “What caused coronavirus?” (March 20), Amotz Asa-El reminds us of the horrific slaughter of Jews in the 14th century when they were falsely accused of causing the Bubonic plaque. The slaughter continued despite the pleas from Pope Clement IV absolving the Jews of blame.
That cataclysm, he says, is no different from US President Donald Trump’s accusation that the recent coronavirus is Chinese in origin. Trump, like the antisemites of that Europe, acts in “ignorance or malice” and “no one should know this better than us Jews.”
However, independent sources now are clearly implicating China as the source-American Council on Science and Health, Center for Research on Globalization, biostatisticians Yang Zang et al at University of Michigan and many other sources. It is only a question of time before a consensus definitively nails China as the source.
Further, we physicians constantly use geographic eponyms to identify disease, such as Spanish flu, Hong Kong flu, Ebola fever, Zika fever, Norwegian scabies, German measles, etc. We are not castigated. Yet when Trump does, he is vilified.
So it seems that to vilify Trump, Asa-El himself uses ignorance and malice – the same weapons he warns “Jews like us should never use”.
I suspect his zeal to demonize Trump is based less on science or ethics but more on hate of the man which in turn has a basis in malice and ignorance, the same malignant emotions that drove the antisemites of the dark ages. Just like Clements IV tried to arrest the slaughter of Jews by absolving them from blame, I look forward to a public apology from Asa-El absolving Trump when the truth of Chinese origin is ultimately determined, as it will be.
Pascagoula, MS
Regarding “Trump to halt World Health Organization funding over coronavirus response” (April 15), US President Donald Trump is right to withhold WHO funding, as they neglected to give an early signal of the pandemic emanating from China.
The administration’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said misinformation from China repeated by WHO had affected US response efforts. Trump received heavy criticism for placing early travel restrictions on China, not least from the Democratic Presidential hopeful Joe Biden who called Trump’s move “hysterical xenophobia.”
Let’s hope many other countries will follow suit, holding China to account for their life-threatening obfuscation.
On a related topic, regarding “It’s time to return to normalcy” (April 17), again ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert is sounding off with his know-it-all response after an event.
Yes, we all wish the daily status quo might return sooner rather than later, but not if it openly endangers the lives of others. It is highly irresponsible for Olmert to state what the nation craves without any accountability. Even I can do that. But we must leave life-preserving decisions to those that have the required medical and scientific knowledge, which will hopefully return us safely to normalcy.
Tel Aviv
Olmert and normalcy
Regarding “It’s time to return to normalcy” (April 17), it is wearying to see articles by former prime minister Ehud Olmert appearing pretty much every week in the Friday editions in which he does nothing but sing his own praises and criticize and castigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for everything that he can think of.
There is nothing original or worthy in his words. It cannot be acceptable for a columnist in a reputable newspaper to call a prime minister and his government “Netanyahu and his band of thugs and criminals.” This from a corrupt, disgraced and criminally convicted individual. A number of years ago The Jerusalem Post fired a columnist for his unacceptable content. This is what should happen to Olmert, who lacks the credibility to write in your publication. The only saving grace is that there is often an article by David Weinberg on the same page, who always something relevant to say.
Regarding “Blue and White? It’s black” (April 10), we now have the perfect definition of chutzpah. Former prime minister Olmert, who was convicted of bribery, is saying that the current prime minister can no longer serve due to an indictment of bribery. Someone who accepted envelopes stuffed with cash is referring to our leaders as: “Netanyahu’s crime gang.”
A few months before the expulsion from Gush Katif, Olmert, who was trade minister at that time, at a meeting of the CFO Forum, stated that removing the Jews from Gush Katif would help the Israeli economy. Furious, I waited until the end of his speech to ask him about it, but he didn’t allow questions and departed immediately.
I now would like to say to him what I wanted to say to him then: If a minister in any other government said what you say, he would be categorized as an antisemite.
Karnei Shomron
Convenient scapegoats
Emily Schrader’s article “Using religion to scapegoat women for disasters” (April 13) is part of a media trend to single out the haredi community for criticism. In recent weeks, haredi-bashing has become a national sport. Putting aside Schrader’s baseless claims and preposterous comparison to Iranian clerics, her approach is damaging, unbalanced and not conducive to national solidarity at this time of crisis. Additionally, she gives a loud, provocative, tiny minority exactly the attention and influence they seek.
Like with any sector of society, there are problems within the haredi sector, such as: a general dismissal of state laws/guidelines, not sharing fairly in Israel’s security burden, littering, etc. However, there are also a number of positive aspects from which we can all learn: an incredible hessed culture, significant demographic contribution, a low crime rate, respect of the elderly, and more. Eight of the nine largest hessed organizations in Israel were founded by haredim (Yad Sara, Ezer Metzion, Zichron Menachem, etc.) and provide services for all of society. With 6.9 children on average per mother, the haredi community makes a significant contribution to Jewish demographics in a region of predominantly Arab-Muslims. According to an Israel Prison Service report in 2009, religious prisoners constituted a mere 3% of inmates, disproportionate to their numbers in the population, and also defying the international rule whereby poverty goes hand in hand with a high crime rate. Are any of these topics ever highlighted in the media?!
Focusing obsessively on the haredi community’s shortcomings, while rarely pointing out their strong points and sparing other sectors from similar vehement criticism, is immoral and discriminatory.
The Talmud (Bava Metzia 107b) instructs: “First judge yourself truly and then judge others.” This message is perhaps more timely than ever.
Peace, love and bias
In “We all share one blue sky” (April 17), Izzeldin Abuelaish (a Palestinian, Canadian, medical doctor and inspirational peace activist, his own words) cries out passionately for us – both sides – to learn cooperation and humanity and peace from the corona crisis.
He also lists the evils of the present world, thereby belying his very not so even-handed mindset. The evils include annexation, land confiscation, death sentences, checkpoints, walls, politicians who are focused on remaining in power. Read: Israeli evils.
Nowhere is their mention of terrorism, demonization, car bombs, knifings, rockets purposely aimed at civilian populations, religious extremism, misogyny, etc. With his bias, Abuelaish manages to incite and infuriate rather than inspire to peace and love.
Who is that masked man?
COVID-19 testing continues to plague Health Ministry” (April 17), is interesting and important, but the picture above it is a missed opportunity to educate the community on proper mask use.
MDA has been and continues to be a huge asset in support of emergency medical care through Israel. Its testing of large numbers of people daily is critical in this corona crisis. However, people may get the incorrect impression of the proper way of wearing a mask from the picture, in which the paramedic has the mask under his nose and not covering it.
In the same edition, the picture in Mahaneh Yehudah shows people demonstrating correct mask use. The picture in the High Court article shows the chief justice and stenographer with masks under their faces, another judge with the mask under the nose, and a judge and attorney wearing masks correctly.
As the only Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS) in Israel, my concern is that people will get the wrong impression that this is an acceptable way to wear a mask and more people will wear masks inappropriately. This will do nothing to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and defeats the purpose of wearing a mask.
We as healthcare providers need to model the behavior that we want the population to follow.
Petah Tikva
A vote for unity
As an octogenarian oleh of more than five years’ standing, I have suffered four election campaigns since my arrival. I am told that this is a manifestation of Israel’s vigorous democracy and I only wish that this was indeed the case.
All I have heard in the last three campaigns was that the political groupings either adored/worshiped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or loathed/feared him. They were like a group of kindergarten children split into two gangs and the level of their rhetoric was not very different. What I did not hear from any of the participants was a set of their plans and intentions should the electorate give them the opportunity to implement them. How puerile.
The electorate has spoken clearly three times. It wants the parties to come together and provide stable government. It wants the verbal missile throwing to cease. It has said that the Israeli people need a government that can pass a budget, can deal with the coronavirus crisis, can look into and rectify the shortcomings in our education and health systems. In short, it needs politicians who act as responsible adults and not as criminally irresponsible delinquents.
With all that is going on during these unprecedented times, it was gratifying to see the flag with the Magen David Adom emblem flying next to Kfar Saba’s flag on Weizmann Street. A wonderful gesture to show appreciation of the emergency services. Thank you!
Kfar Saba
While most of us are homebound, there are times when we are on our feet for a half hour or more while cooking, cleaning, praying, etc. Remember to wear shoes (with orthotics where applicable) to give your feet the support they need. Keep well.
Beit Shemesh/Safed