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Hartzfeld Hospital
Photo: Avi Mualem
Photo: Niv Kalderon
Levy: Documents accidentally thrown away
Photo: Niv Kalderon
6 doctors to be charged with abuse of elderly patients
Physicians suspected of performing illegal experiments at geriatric hospital which may have led to death; Health Ministry: We may revoke their licenses

The Central District Prosecution has announced it will file indictments against six doctors from the Hartzfeld Geriatric Hospital in Gedera suspected of abusing elderly patients, Ynet learned Wednesday.

 

The doctors are to be charged with abuse of the helpless, assault, and battery. The indictment accuses the physicians, among them the current deputy director of Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot and former director of Hartzfeld, Dr. Shmuel Levy, of performing experiments on hundreds of patients hospitalized at the clinic.

 

The Health Ministry said it was considering revoking the doctors' licenses. Three of the suspects, Dr. Michael Klein, Dr. Ephraim Rimon and Dr. Louisa Perlman still work at the Hartzfeld Geriatric Hospital.

 

The remaining two doctors were named as Dr. Nadia Kagensky and Dr. Alona Smirnov.

 

Three other doctors who were questioned in the case, including former Kaplan Medical Center Director Yossi Bar-ElDirector, will not be indicted.

 

The abuse case was first reported in 2005 following a state comptroller report on Israel's hospitals. The report said illegal experiments were being performed on thousands of hospitalized geriatric patients without their consent, and sharply criticized the hospital's Helsinki committee for approving the experiments.

 

The report described in detail two specific experiments in which doctors gave more than 100 patients a diminished dose of iron in order to test its effects. The report said one patient had died, and her death had not been reported according to the legal time limit. The hospital was also reported to have neglected investigating whether her death was tied to the experiment performed on her. Documentation of the experiment was found by the comptroller to have disappeared.

 

The report's findings were transferred by the Health Ministry to the police's National Fraud Unit, which has investigated 22 suspects in the case over the past three years. The unit's investigators brought in specialists in order to determine the experiments' ethical and legal nature.

 

Police also interrogated Dr. Levy, who said during questioning that all of the documents on the experiments were accidentally thrown away by the hospital's cleaning staff.

 

Following the investigation police recommended that indictments be filed against the six suspects as some of the experiments were suspected to have been performed illegally. The court hearing is expected to take place in coming days.

 

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