Medical Askan Benny Fischer: Terem Was Told of the Exterminator

(Friday, January 24th, 2014)

IMG-20140122-WA0054After the petira of the daughters of Rav Shimon Gross, officials from the Terem Emergency Clinic in Yerushalayim deny that the parents told doctors they had an exterminator in their home.

The night before the girls died their parents took the children to the emergency clinic after they complained of feeling ill, with at least one vomiting. They parents, Shimie and Michal Gross explained that they mentioned the fact that an exterminator was in their home a number of times, yet they were sent home and instructed to give the children Acamol (Israeli Tylenol). Terem officials deny that the parents mentioned the exterminator, which should have led the doctor to realize they were suffering from exposure to a toxic substance due to the signs and symptoms of the children.

Medical askan Rav Benny Fischer, who heads the Magen L’Choleh organization spoke to Moti Lavi on Kol Berama Radio on the Thursday morning 23 Shevat “8 to 10” program, and he explained that both parents told him that they mentioned the exterminator to the doctors several times.

Rabbi Fischer:

There was one room in the house that was so infested with moths that they had to call an exterminator once annually. This is what alarmed them regarding the reaction of the children, since they never had such a reaction after the exterminator. It is important for me to stress that when they were in Terem they mentioned the exterminator sprayed the house to doctors several times.

Lavi:

In Terem they are claiming they were not aware of the exterminator. This poses a big question regarding the emergency clinic as to why the children were sent home in this condition.

Fischer:

I asked abba and ima and they told me, each one independently, that they told doctors repeatedly about the exterminator.

Now, because of Terem’s version contradicting the father and mother, there is a difficult situation because they are not speaking the truth. I arrived immediately following the incident and asked them and they told me that they mentioned this to the doctors a number of times. It is hard to imagine that parents in this type of serious situation would not tell the truth. The response from them was in the midst of tears and the mother said she told this to the doctor numerous times. The criticism against Terem is justifiable and the behavior [of Terem] is scandalous.

Lavi:

The situation could be different now.

Fischer:

If they would have placed the girls on a ECMO it is possible that they could have been saved. It does not make a difference but bottom line, the parents told Terem – it is terrible.

Lavi:

What is most outrageous is the disregard and the denial. That is crueler.

Fischer:

This is a terrible injustice, staining the family as if they concealed information.

The official statement released by Terem is “First the Terem network wishes to express deep sorrow over the tragedy. The family came to Terem in good general condition after they had dinner. They complained of nausea after eating. The medical team conducted comprehensive medical exams and they were devoid of suspicious findings. After receiving the results of the test and providing treatment for nausea, they were released to their home.

As soon as we learned of the deaths and the condition of the other siblings a team of Terem pediatric and emergency medicine experts convened and reviewed the case. After speaking with the treating physicians and medical staff in the hospital a preliminary evaluation was done and it was determined they received the best possible care in accordance with accepted professional medical standards in accordance with the test results obtained. Note the general situation of the family was good and there was no suspicion of any urgency regarding their situation.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


6 Comments

  1. adamemes1 says:

    I am not positive “that if people actually had a family physician like they used to then the doctors would be more attuned to abnormalities and respond to cases differently than a clinic where everyone is just one massive group of human flesh and it basically a medical factory of procedures based on a book the doctors learned while in college with no ability to differentiate between cases” but I am pretty sure.

  2. moeisrael says:

    We should start a major campaign to boycott Terem until they bleed bad financially or maybe even close down!!!Or else do full unmitigated Teshuvah.

  3. #1
    Actually most people here do have a family physician.
    Terem is for after hours emergencies. It’s like an emergency room without the rest of the hospital.

  4. twisted says:

    I was once a lowly EMT. Our protocol included the “merciless” questioning and digging to get the details of last 24 hour history. That medical functionaries are held it less a standard is mind numbing. Someone at Terem is no less at fault than the exterminator. Had the the patients not said anything, it was the clinic’s business to make sure they did say anything that is possibly relevant.

  5. The Chassidishe Gatesheader says:

    I’d just like to share my own experience with Mr Fisher.

    When she was 16, my wife (then not yet, of course) seriously broke several bones in her ankle in a fall. She had several surgeries, and for a while the issue was resolved.

    Just after we got married the pain returned. Now let me record this properly.

    * We went to the Clalit GP, who said probably the metal placed during the earlier surgeries was causing the pain, and referred us to an orthopedic surgeon at Clalit for further evaluation.
    * Clalit orthopedic surgeon said the same.
    * We then decided to move her to Maccabi as well (where I was already), so we re-started the process there.
    * Maccabi referred us to Shaarei Tzedek hospital for surgery.

    * Shaarei Tzedek orthopedic surgeon evaluated the imagery and noticed something unusual. He called in two other more senior colleagues and they conferred: it turned out she had a rather rare condition (something that happens to 1 per million of people, statistically). We ended up at the head of the foot/ankle orthopedics team, Dr Shmuel Weiss.
    * For a second opinion, pressured by my mother-in-law, we went to see the head of the orthopedics team at Hadassah Ein Kerem. He agreed with the Shaarei Tzedek team’s findings, told us to continue with the surgery there and said at Hadassah it would be much more complicated since they didn’t have the tools to make it a minimally invasive surgery, which Shaarei Tzedek did have. He told us to send his greetings to Dr Weiss.

    So, finally, the days before surgery. My wife became more and more nervous. She was quite scared of the surgery. So, against my advice (saying it would only confuse her), she called Benny Fisher for advice.

    His advice: “Don’t do the surgery. Just don’t do it, don’t worry, it will disappear by itself.”

    Now please keep in mind at that point, for months already, she could barely walk and was almost crying from pain if she walked to the makolet 50 meters from our house.

    I called Benny Fisher and asked him why he had told my wife not do so the surgery. I said I question his judgment, as this is an extremely rare condition not even known to most orthopedic surgeons (note the ones at Clalit and Maccabi hadn’t seen it). He’s not a physician at all, let alone an orthopedic surgeon.

    Benny Fisher’s answer: “That’s my business not yours, I don’t have time to talk to you.”
    I told him: “You told my wife not to do a surgery decided upon by 4 different orthopedic surgeons in Shaarei Tzedek and by the head of orthopedics at Hadassah Ein Kerem. You totally confused my wife and we have a real problem now. You owe me an explanation for this.”
    His answer: “No, I don’t owe you anything at all.”

    At that point I said something not so nice and he hung up the phone.

    My wife eventually did undergo the surgery and it went fine.

    I will leave it to others to draw their own conclusions about Mr Fisher.

  6. avreimi says:

    I don’t know if the story told by #5 is true or not. I don’t know what happened at Terem the night the Gross family went there. I find it hard to believe that the parents did not tell the staffers at Terem or at least one of them what had happened. But I also find it hard to believe that none of the Terem staffers, who I have personally always found to be conscientious, didn’t press the parents. The one thing I do know is that as I wasn’t there, just like Mr. Fisher wasn’t there, I will not blacken the name of Terem on the basis of my non existent personal knowledge. Mr Fisher you are guilty of the most terrible loshon hora. I for one think that possuls you from being a reliable source of medical advice.

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