Brothers poisoned by pesticides out of intensive care
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Brothers poisoned by pesticides out of intensive care

Michael and Yitzhak Gross, whose two sisters were killed by toxin, improve further, move to regular ward

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Rescue workers seen at the scene of the apartment treated with pesticides which poisoned an entire family,  January 22, 2014. (photo credit: Flash 90)
Rescue workers seen at the scene of the apartment treated with pesticides which poisoned an entire family, January 22, 2014. (photo credit: Flash 90)

Two brothers who nearly died after inhaling pesticide fumes following extermination work in their home were moved out of intensive care on Monday as their condition continued to improve.

Michael Gross, 7, and his brother Yitzhak, 5, were placed in a regular ward at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where they were well enough to take part in a music therapy session, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Tuesday.

Last week the boys were taken off the ECMO respiration and cardiovascular machines that had been keeping them alive since the deadly incident two weeks ago that killed their two younger sisters and also injured their parents and another brother.

“They are taking oral medication and they are stable as far respiration is concerned,” said Ovdei Dagan, director of the hospital’s intensive care unit. “They look okay and now they need to go through a process of rehabilitation, especially physical.”

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.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report

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