There is a crisis looming in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital that has led to the resignation of six senior physicians including the head of the pediatric oncology/hematology department. There is grave concern for the future of the unit as the senior staff members have taken leave of the hospital.
Prof. Rothstein insists there are no plans to merge the pediatric and adult units, but now, with the resignations, the move may be required. Rothstein also promises mothers he will not permit any child to be harmed as a result of the decision of the doctors to resign.
Hospital Director Professor Ze’ev Rothstein told Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) on Tuesday morning 8 Adar “From my part I will not agree, not for as long as I am the medical director of the hospital, to harm a child because I do not accept him. I am not fighting for anything today. it is not about ego and not about status or honor, just about the lives of the children”.
I understand the doctors refused to accept some children into the unit. If this is true it is most serious. Can you explain?
There are only four beds in the pediatric bone marrow unit and ten children being treated. I think everyone can do the math. I am committed to every child requiring marrow transplant and I will do my utmost to ensure each child receives all the care required.
There was no way to reach a solution to prevent their resignations?
I met with the doctors. I add the letters of resignations occurred with my predecessors too. bottom line is we have until June to address this so the children’s care is not compromised. This is the message and this is what is important. There is a fiscal rehabilitation program and we are moving along and we are healing.
Have you asked to meet with them today? (Rothstein just got back from a trip abroad).
I will meet with them any time as I did in the past. I will not be pressured but I will continue handling affairs as I must.
There are currently move leaves some 30 children with cancer and serious blood diseases in need of high-level care. Prof. Rothstein explains the doctors have not abandoned the children, and they are receiving critical care and the doctors will not permit them to be harmed by their decision.
The department is viewed as among the best in Israel, but the controversy and subsequent resignations has many worried, most of all, the parents of the patients.
Parents are not consoled by Rothstein’s words, fearing their children’s care is going to be compromised as a result of the resignations, which the doctors blame on irreconcilable differences with Prof. Rothstein.
Chairman of the Joint Committee of Hadassah Physicians Professor Rafael Yudasin on Sunday addressed the Free Will program headed by Avi Ratzon. He explains the pediatric oncology/hematology unit is the best in Israel and the decision to move it to a non-child friendly environment is a bad one. The children he feels are being moved to buildings in which therapist of bone marrow patients treat adults and this too is not good, for he feels children must be with other children, not adults.
“Doctors are under a heavy load and they seek positions that will give them the option to treat children. They make cardinal decisions and it cannot be that the doctors are not a part of these decisions. This is the way one man works [Prof. Rothstein], making decision with his team [to the exclusion of others]. Doctors are not demanding money but they simply want to be given the best possible way to treat the children” Prof. Yudasin explains.
One of the leaders to save the unit is Moshe Benita, whose son was a patient and died two years ago. “There is a crisis that has been ongoing for over a half year. The two sides stopped talking about three months ago. We are dealing with the good of the children. Prof. Miki Weintraub (Chief of the unit) has been fighting because some of his patients have been moved to an adult unit. There is no place in the world in which adults and children are together. These children are being treated by remote control. The team there (adults) lacks the training to deal with the children, not to mention the atmosphere while in the children’s unit, everyone is happy”.
Esther Agassi, whose 6-year-old daughter is being followed in the unit added “It is unbelievable that we not come to the unit and see this. We are tired of the machlokes. There is no reason to merge the units”.
The doctors who resigned are not walking out the door, but have agreed to remain until June.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)