Doctors Strike Over Increase in Violence Against Medical Personnel


A medical security guard is seen at the Hadassah Har Hazofim Hospital ,as medical team go on 24-hour strike in protest of recent violence attacks on the hospital medical staff, Thursday. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Since the start of 2022, Israeli hospitals have reported 110 cases of physical assaults and 1,675 incidents of verbal abuse, threats, or damage to personal property, Health Ministry numbers show.

According to data, in 2019, there were 333 physical assaults and 6,015 incidents reported; in 2020, after the outbreak of the pandemic, 306 and 5,616 respectively; and in 2021, 313 and 6,505.

In related news, physicians in Israel began a 24-hour strike on Thursday morning in protest of repeated assaults on medical workers in response to the violent incident at the Hadassah University Hospital in Yerushalayim, during which family members of a patient who had just died assaulted medical workers, destroyed equipment and caused damage to hospital property.

The Israel Medical Association has called on the government to increase security in clinics across the country and establish small police stations in every emergency room. It also demands a legal amendment that would view an assault on a medical staff member as an assault on an officer.

Ahead of the strike, hospital staff at the Galilee Medical Center in Naharia were attacked by angry family members of a male patient who had died of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, who were trying to force their way into the trauma room. Several hospital guards were said to have been injured lightly in the incident.

There will be protests at Hadassah University Hospital and Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Yerushalayim, with the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, which has reported a significant increase in attacks on medical staff in recent months, to hold a rally in solidarity.

Chairman of the Israel Medial Accusation Professor Zion Hagay called on the government to take immediate actions, warning they will not hesitate to increase measures if necessary.

The Health Ministry in a statement condemned violence against medical staff and vowed to act to “ensure the safety of staff and patients. The Health Ministry is in touch with the management of the Hadassah University Hospital and the team that handles the incident and its consequences.”

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