Two brothers who nearly died after inhaling pesticide fumes following extermination work in their house last month were released home from the Schneider Children’s Hospital on Monday.
Michael Gross, 7, and his brother Yitzhak, 5, of Jerusalem were hospitalized in January in serious condition after inhaling life-threatening amounts of phosphine gas. Their two younger sisters were killed by the deadly pesticide. An older brother and the two parents, Michal and Shimon Gross, were injured less seriously.
Earlier this month, the boys were taken off the ECMO respiration and cardiovascular machines that had been keeping them alive since the deadly incident.
The family fell ill after an exterminator allegedly used aluminum phosphide during a visit to the family’s home in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood of Jerusalem. When mixed with water, the toxin reacts to release phosphine, an extremely harmful gas.
Avigail and Yael, aged 1 and 4, were rushed to the hospital along with the rest of their family, but doctors were unable to save their lives. The girls were laid to rest later that week at Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuhot cemetery even as their brothers were still fighting for their lives in intensive care.
The exterminator suspected of negligence in the girls’ death reportedly left a container of the poisonous material inside a room that he sealed with masking tape, intending to return to continue his work.
The exterminator was arrested, and legal proceedings continue against him.
Stuart Winer contributed to this report