Patient attacks doctor at Wolfson hospital in third assault on medics this week

Incident comes at tail-end of 24-hour protest by medical officials over rampant violence; union chief warns of further measures if steps not taken by law enforcement

Doctors and nurses at the emergency room of Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, August 13, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Doctors and nurses at the emergency room of Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, August 13, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A patient in the ICU of Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center attacked a doctor Thursday overnight, the third instance of violence against medical professionals this week, the hospital said.

The reason for the attack, during which the patient broke the doctor’s glasses, was not known. A complaint was filed to the police.

Wolfson condemned the incident, stressing that such cases must be severely punished by law authorities.

“We use all the tools at our disposal so that the staff who work day and night with dedication and professionalism for the patients feel protected at work,” said CEO Dr. Anat Engel. “However, it is clear that violence needs to be addressed at the national level.”

The incident came after public hospitals and clinics went on strike on Thursday to protest repeated violence against medics.

Facilities operated on a weekend schedule for 24 hours on Thursday, offering reduced services.

Illustrative: Nurses strike at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in protest of violence against medical personnel, July 4, 2018 (Courtesy Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital)

The chairman of the medical workers union, Prof. Zion Hagay, condemned Friday’s incident in Wolfson, warning that the union will intensify measures if further action is not taken to stop such attacks.

“Even before the end of the 24-hour strike we took in protest of the violence in the health care system, we were informed of another serious incident that occurred tonight at Wolfson Hospital,” he said. “I reiterate that if we do not see a series of concrete and effective measures in the coming week, we will not hesitate to intensify the struggle until the return of personal security to the medical staff.”

On Wednesday, staff at Galilee Medical Center in Naharia were attacked by angry family members of a deceased patient, wounding several guards and requiring police reinforcement.

Thursday’s strike was called after family members of a patient who died at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem on Monday attacked medical staff and caused significant damage to the intensive care unit after they were informed of his death.

Police on Friday said they have arrested a man for his suspected involvement in the attack in Hadassah.

According to police, the suspect, a 48-year-old resident of East Jerusalem, was taken in for questioning and was set to be brought to the court to have his arrest remanded.

Damage to the intensive care unit at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem caused by family members of a patient who died there, May 16, 2022. (Hadassah spokesperson)

Recent months have seen an increased wave of attacks against medical teams and facilities across the country.

In November, nurses at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center held a strike for several hours in protest of a violent incident in which staff members were beaten and threatened by the family of a dying cancer patient.

Earlier the same month Rambam said it had to forcibly remove dozens of people who gathered outside the facility after a victim of violence was brought there for treatment. According to hospital officials, riot police were called to the scene to prevent the crowd from entering the hospital.

And in Beersheba, four people were hurt and 19 were arrested in a massive brawl outside Soroka Medical Center that included gunfire.

In 2017, in one of the most severe cases in recent years, a man burned 55-year-old nurse Tova Kararo to death at the Holon clinic at which she worked.

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