Health Minister (Yesh Atid) Yael German does not understand why at times a halachic consideration is given priority over a medical one when the former is a non life saving. The minister apologized in the Knesset plenum on an incident that occurred in Assuta Hospital in which an abortion was pushed off since the operating room was not equipped regarding tumas kohanim. She lashed out at the hospital and apologized over the incident.
“We in the Health Ministry are sorrowed and apologize on the pain and anguish caused to the patient. I believe Assuta Hospital did not act as it should have, placing halachic consideration above the condition of the patient”.
The minister has instructed the ministry’s director-general to demand an explanation of the incident from the hospital. She added that the patient must receive appropriate treatment, especially in such a sensitive matter, and the hospital should have found a solution other than pushing off treatment.
Other surgical suites in the hospital have a system in place, including an alert system and signs that state the door may not be opened when the red light is on due to tumas kohanim. “Please wait patiently until the light goes off” the signs state.
In this case, brought to the spotlight by a Channel 2 News report, Assuta responded “In an effort to respect the different communities the hospital is compelled to adhere to matters pertaining to tumas kohanim. Therefore, the procedure is done in the framework of halacha in the appropriate area towards avoiding compromising the status of kohanim that might be walking in different areas of the hospital”.
The hospital added that a clerical error caused the situation as the date for the procedure was not correctly recorded in the operating rooms log and the procedure should never have been approved for that particular operating room. They offered the patient to do the procedure on the following day in another surgical suite. Hospital officials stress that the delay in no way compromised the mother’s health.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)