Hospital ERs demand police protection amid spurt of violent attacks

Hospital ERs demand police protection amid spurt of violent attacks

Emergency doctors association says uniformed officers carry more authority than security guards

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

Illustrative photo of a Magen David Adom ambulance outside an Israeli hospital (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a Magen David Adom ambulance outside an Israeli hospital (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

A group representing Israel’s emergency doctors on Sunday demanded that the government immediately post a uniformed police officer in every ER department to protect staff against what it said was a wave of increasingly violent attacks on its personnel, Army Radio reported.

Eran Talor, chair of the Israel Association for Emergency Medicine, wrote to Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan urging them to act because existing security staff do not have sufficient authority to tackle the issue.

“The very presence of a uniformed police officer in the ER department acts as a deterrent against violence and also gives an immediate response when a violent incident begins,” he wrote.

Talor’s letter came after two attacks within the space of three days at the Ichilov Hospital ER department in Tel Aviv. In one incident security guards trying to protect staff were beaten and suffered minor to moderate injuries.

“Following the growing wave of violence against medical and support staff in the ER department, the Association for Emergency Medicine demands the posting of a police officer in every ER department,” Talor wrote.

Listing the reasons for his demand, Talor said that the level of violence which staff face is getting worse. An ER unit, he noted, is “an open department that everyone is permitted to enter and our ability to constrain those who enter is limited.”

“The security teams, who are working very hard and are fighting shoulder to shoulder against the aggression directed at the staff, have a limited authority that is not the same as the authority of a police officer,” he said.

An altercation between security guards and the family of a patient is seen outside the Ichilov Hospital ER, June 27, 2017 (Security camera footage/Courtesy Ichilov Hospital)

A man was arrested Saturday for attacking a nurse in Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital because he felt he was not being given adequate treatment for injuries he suffered in a traffic accident, police said. Last week a group of five men injured security guards at the same medical center when they tried to assault staff in the ER unit because a family member had complained about the service she received.

Last month a woman hospitalized at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center beat a nurse unconscious and inflicted injuries that required medical treatment. The assailant was arrested.

In March a Holocaust survivor burned a nurse at a Holon clinic to death. According to the court indictment, Asher Faraj became angry after the flu shot he received from the nurse made him feel weak and unwell. Faraj told police he didn’t intend to harm anyone, but merely to cause damage to property at the clinic.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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