More doctors quit Hadassah children’s cancer unit amid management crisis
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More doctors quit Hadassah children’s cancer unit amid management crisis

Parents protest outside medical center in support of oncologists set to leave ward, call on Health Ministry to intervene

Families of patients from the pediatric hemato-oncology unit at Jerusalem‘s Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem,  demonstrate in support of the unit‘s director Prof. Michael Weintraub, near the capital‘s Ministry of Health on February 9, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Families of patients from the pediatric hemato-oncology unit at Jerusalem‘s Hadassah Hospital, Ein Kerem, demonstrate in support of the unit‘s director Prof. Michael Weintraub, near the capital‘s Ministry of Health on February 9, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Another three doctors tendered their resignation from Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center’s children’s cancer unit amid an ongoing management crisis that saw the entire senior team of six doctors from the ward quit en masse two months ago.

The doctors in the unit, which treats children with leukemia and other blood diseases, blame hospital management for what they describe as a severe failure to invest in the staff.

The senior team members’ respective departures are set to take effect next month. The three additional doctors, residents in the oncology unit, submitted their resignations on Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, parents of children and adolescents being treated at the hospital held a demonstration outside the building to protest against the planned rotation of doctors from other hospitals to take up the roles of the departing physicians.

The parents demanded that Health Minister Yaakov Litzman intervene in the crisis.

“Oncologists are not part of a machine whose parts you can replace with spares,” one parent of a four-year-old with leukemia told Channel 2 news.

The parent praised the doctors as “angels who serve our children with endless dedication,” adding that their departure would be a “death sentence for our kids.”

The parents vowed to “fight to the end so that the doctors continue to treat our children. No other alternative is acceptable.”

Some 250 children and adolescents are currently being treated at the unit, at least 19 of whom are inpatients.

The Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem, on January 15, 2017. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
The Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem, on January 15, 2017. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The crisis at the hospital is over the management’s decision to merge two separate bone marrow transplant centers, one for children and one for adults, into one, a move that was vociferously opposed by the head oncologist, Professor Miki Weintraub, who then resigned along with five other physicians.

The doctors attempted to then transfer the pediatric hemato-oncology unit to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center with their patients in order to continue their treatment, but the Health Ministry blocked the move.

In early March, the head of the hospital said he was prepared to apologize to the six pediatric oncologists set to resign and a mediator was brought in by Litzman, the health minister, to try to resolve the crisis.

Hadassah Ein Kerem CEO Zeev Rotstein said at the time that his main concern was the well-being of the children in the unit and that he was ready to speak to the six doctors in order “to bring them home.”

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