The Israeli Medical Association went on a symbolic strike Sunday morning for two hours to protest recent acts of violence against doctors by patients and their family members.
The strike disrupted hospital services from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. as doctors attended assemblies. Only emergency rooms, oncology services, delivery rooms and intensive care, dialysis and premature baby units were to function normally during the strike, according to the IMA.
“Recently, we’ve been hit by an ugly wave of ongoing violence against doctors by patients and their families. The public has largely remained silent during this wave of shocking and shameful violence,” the IMA said in a statement. “We will not remain silent.”
Last Wednesday, a patient in her 60s attacked a nurse at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Rishon Lezion; a week before that, a patient stabbed a doctor that was giving her an injection, according to Channel 10.
“It is absurd, that we, the men and women of the medical community in Israel, have sworn to save human life and to treat all who need medical treatment, while our lives are abandoned to fate,” IMA chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman said.
Eidelman went on to point out that violence against doctors also harms the patient and added that, while the IMA did not intend to disrupt the hospital system with the strike, it was intended as a wake-up call for the public.
The IMA also called for the approval of the National Program for Halting Violence in Medical Institutions, warning that if the government did not ratify it, the IMA would mull additional actions, including more strikes.
The program was formulated by several government ministries and the IMA last August.