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Health system to go on 2-hour strike following nurse's murder
Hospitals and community clinics to strike between 8am-10am on Wednesday in protest of frequent attacks against medical personnel; Health Ministry says over 800 incidents reported of verbal and physical violence every year.
Israel's health system will strike for two hours on Wednesday morning to protest frequent attacks against medical personnel at hospitals and community clinics, in the latest of which a nurse was killed in a suspected arson attack at an HMO in Holon on Tuesday.

 

 

The strike will last between 8am-10am on Wednesday, according to the head of the Histadrut Labor Federation Avi Nissenkorn.

 

"The strike is meant as an act of solidarity with all health system personnel who work day and night for the patients and their families across the country," Nissenkorn said.

 

Scene of the murder in Holon
Scene of the murder in Holon

 

According to the Health Ministry, every year there are over 800 incidents reported of verbal and physical violence against medical personnel.

 

Six months ago, an Arab intern was treating an IDF soldier at the Orthopedic Urgent Care unit in the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Rishon Lezion. An hour later, the soldier's father sought out the doctor in his office and started swearing at him, using racist slurs, hitting him and slapping him. The intern reported the incident to the hospital's security team.

 

Last year, a patient at Assaf Harofeh passed away. Upon hearing of his passing, his family members started rioting inside the hospital, vandalizing and breaking medical equipment and causing damage to the walls.

 

In August, a doctor at the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva was attacked by a person accompanying a patient at the Division of Surgery. He started swearing at the doctor and other medical personnel. When security guards arrived at the scene, the man slapped the doctor.

 

In January, a relative of a patient at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa was caught on camera destroying a portable ventilator worth tens of thousands of shekels because he felt frustrated by the overcrowding at the hospital and the long wait periods.

 

Officials in the health system are concerned with the growing trend. "We're all shocked by the murder today, but the writing was on the wall. Medical personnel are hurt too many times and we must not remain silent about it," a Health Ministry official said.

 

Nurse Tovah Kararo, who was working at a Clalit Health Insurance clinic in Holon, was killed when a disgruntled patient poured an accelerant into the room where she was sitting and set fire to the room.

 

Eli Dafas, Clalit's CEO, expressed his shock at the incident. "This is an unprecedented incident," he said after returning from meeting the clinics crew. "An event like this deserves to be investigated so it will never happen again."

 

"The health system in Israel is strong, good and caring," Dafas added. "Something like this, or even less than this, should not be allowed to happen again and we will do whatever we can to make sure of that. I want to ask all medical teams to stay strong and keep doing their job for the good of all patients in Israel."

 

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman also denounced the incident. "I am shocked by even the possibility of an employee at a clinic being murdered by a patient because of the treatment. This is crossing all lines of violence. I trust the police to investigate this difficult event, and we shall wait for their results."

 

The minister sought to "back the medical teams and give strength to the doctors, nurses and all other workers of the health system. We cannot accept violence against medical personnel and there is no reason that could justify this kind of criminal behavior. I offer my condolences to the family of the deceased."

 

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