A special committee headed by top medical officials has presented recommendations to Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman on preventing violence in hospitals. Among the recommendations: Increasing penalties and punishment for anyone who attacks medical staff, the establishment of a special security force that will work to protect personnel, and increasing the range of offenses hospitals can file complaints with police about.
Hospital violence is a common occurrence in Israel, with barely a week going by without a report of a doctor, nurse, or other hospital personnel being attacked. In many cases, hospitals go on strike for several hours in protest over episodes of violence, where family members attack hospital staff because they feel their loved ones are not getting sufficient treatment.
Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, a senior member of the Israeli health establishment, headed the committee that drew up the recommendations. Among other things, he said, the committee will recommend extending the maximum sentence that can be imposed on perpetrators of hospital violence from three years to five years. According to Ilana Cohen, chairperson of the Nurses Union and a member of the committee, said that “nurses are the first ones to get attacked. We cannot allow them to be turned into punching bags. The recommendations of the committee must be effective and actionable.”