Monday, September 07, 2009

Hadassah Ein Karem Accused of Abuse

The other day I found a pamphlet in the Beit Midrash where I learn entitled "Blood Libel 2009" (volume 2), published by "The Association for Curbing the Harassment of the ultra-Orthodox Community". The pamphlet defends the mother accused of starving her child, and purports to document various abuses that were allegedly committed by the staff at the Hadassah Ein Karem University Hospital.

The pamphlet accuses the hospital of using patients as guinea pigs in experiments without their knowledge, performing tests that the patient did not need, neglect, euthanasia, etc.

With regards to the stories presented, they are probably in the category of Lashon Hara which one is forbidden to believe, but on the other hand one is obligated to be wary/concerned that they may be true.

Hadasah's claim that the mother accused of starving her child suffers from "Munchausen By Proxy Syndrome", is apparently also in this category of Lashon Hara. However, if you ask me the claim doesn't make sense, as the lady four other children bli ayin hara who seem to be just fine.

It seems to me that everybody is a loser in this case. Hadassah will probably suffer financially, as many people will avoid going there. "The Association for Curbing the Harassment of the Ultra-Orthodox Community" claims to have received 467 complaints that have been sent to a well known lawyer abroad, who is considering suing Hadassah in the International Court in Hague. If the ultra-Orthodox community boycotts Haddasah, where will they go? How many people can Bikur Cholim and Sha'arei Tzedek take care of?

On a personal note, my own experience with Haddasah Ein Kerem has been mostly good. Once I brought my son to a doctor there who checked him and refused to receive payment. What a Tzaddik! Another time I brought my father there for tests. With the help of an askan was able to do all the tests he needed in one day. (I blogged about that experience here.) The fact that my father payed in dollars must have helped.

A not so good experience happened when me and my wife were newlyweds. My wife needed to have a tooth pulled, and we heard that you can get it done at Haddasah at a relatively low price. What happened was that a dental student worked on her, while an experienced dentist supervised. My wife said that several times during the procedure the doctor told the student, "hafuch, hafuch" i.e. do the opposite of what you are doing. That is not the best feeling for the patient being worked on! In the end the tooth was removed. I imagine that student is a professor by now.

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