A Haaretz story publicizes a new report (full Hebrew version and English version) by the Israel Committee Against Torture and Physician for Human Rights Israel which documents the systematic violation by the Israeli medical community of the Israeli equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath. Police and intelligence officials who abuse, torture or maim detainees and prisoners bring them to Israeli hospitals for treatment. When they do so, the report notes, medical staff violate medical procedures by not reporting and documenting in their medical reports the clear evidence of violence. By refusing to document the wounds and causes of them, it renders the victims unable to pursue official complaints against the perpetrators.
When a Palestinian was arrested, beaten by police and then bitten by a police dog near Ramallah, he was brought for treatment to Shaarey Tzedek Hospital. Despite the fact that hospital staff treated this blindfolded, shackled man accompanied by police, they didn’t note the cause of the dog bite or circumstances under which he was brought to them. The victim’s complaint against arresting officers was dismissed on the grounds that he couldn’t prove “culpability.” Here is the hospital’s response:
“The medical documents state explicitly that he was treated for a bite, and the doctors have no way to determine the source of the bite.”
Besides the Hippocratic Oath for doctors, shouldn’t there be a prohibition against lying enforced on PR hacks for Israeli hospitals?
Another arrestee suffered a serious gash on his face inflicted by Israeli police. He was brought to the famed Hadassah Hospital, which likes to boast that it treats all patients regardless of ethnicity, race or religion. In this case, however, the medical report did not indicate how the victim received his wound.
After a complaint was filed on the victim’s behalf, this was the vaunted medical institution’s reply:
Hadassah said in a statement that it provides the best medical care to all its patients, regardless of the circumstances of the disease or injuries. It added that because the patient was referred by the Israel Prison Service and accompanied by Border Police officers, “It was clear that the authorities were aware of his arrival and did not need additional notification. Unfortunately, the medical records relating to the treatment provided by Hadassah were apparently taken by the patient or someone acting on his behalf.”
Can you imagine a hospital which gives all its medical records about a patient to an unknown party leaving the institution without any records of the treatment he received? It’s simply unfathomable.
The torture report also notes that over 700 complaints of torture submitted to the Attorney General over the past decade have not been investigated.