חשיפה: החיילת שנפטרה בשל רשלנות רפואית בכלא 4 הצבאי היא דביר קפלנסקי מנתניה
Yesterday, a 19 year-old Israeli soldier and former professional gymnast died of medical negligence in an IDF prison. She had been serving as a technician at an air base in northern Israel. There she’d been arrested for smoking and allegedly dealing small amounts of marijuana. She was sentenced to a military prison.
As Haaretz noted, if she had been a private citizen she wouldn’t even have been arrested, let alone imprisoned. What is the point of the IDF criminalizing behavior that isn’t illegal in society?
A few days later, she began complaining of chest pain and difficulty breathing. Instead of doing a battery of standard medical tests to check for a heart problem or other more serious complication, she was treated by an orderly and a sedative. A number of Israeli news outlets mistakenly said she was given acamol or paracetamol, which is Tylenol. If she had at least it might’ve relieved a small amount of her pain or inflammation. Though it would’ve been a band aid compared to the serious attention her condition required.
The next day, the prison doctor examined her, when she complained additionally of diarrhea. Though nothing is known of what the doctor did or prescribed, she was sent back to her cell.
The next morning she was found unconscious. Emergency services came to the prison and performed CPR. She was then taken to a local hospital for further treatment. But her condition worsened and she went into cardiac arrest. After her heart function stabilized, the doctors examined a CT brain scan done two days earlier and discovered she’d suffered a fatal brain injury in her cell. Medical staff determined that the brain had been irreparably damaged by a loss of oxygen during the earlier cardiac arrest. Taken finally to an intensive care hospital, she died there.
Post-mortem investigation has focussed on the strong possibility of negligence at the prison when she was discovered lying unconscious in her cell. She remained untreated for an extended period of time before emergency personnel were summoned. She may also have been mistreated when she earlier complained of chest pain and was offered a sedative instead of effective medical care.
It’s exceedingly unusual for a healthy 19 year-old professional athlete to die in such circumstances and evidence points to major malfeasance on the part of prison personnel and medical staff there.
A family relative told Yediot Achronot that her death was a needless tragedy:
“She was an outstanding gymnast who’d achieved great things during her life. She was a wonderful girl. The IDF’s behavior in this incident is evidence of a complete breakdown. A terrible waste.
A close friend said of her:
She was a girl always smiling, full of motivation, and with big dreams and aspirations which will never be realized. She was a flower they plucked and discarded. I await the IDF investigation despite the fact that my faith in the system isn’t very great. Nothing will bring her back.
As anyone with knowledge of the Israeli military knows, it is protected by layers of silence, secrecy and privilege. That means, in this particular instance, that no Israeli may know the victim’s name. The army claims the reason for this is to protect the privacy of the victim. That’s nonsense. The army wants to protect itself from the prying eyes of the media and Israeli public, who might shriek with horror at how bad is medical care in military prisons.
The IDF, speaking on behalf of the family, asked journalists to respect the family’s privacy. In other words: “stop prying to get sordid details which will make the IDF look even worse.” In fact, an Israeli journalist told me the family at first rejected this directive and had to be browbeaten by the army till it went along. An Israeli journalist wrote to me:
“Don’t believe this lie. I spoke to a family member and she said military officlals pressed them hard until they agreed that IDF spokesman release the following statement:”
המשפחה מבקשת להימנע מכל סיקור תקשורתי בנושא
Times of Israel “reporter” Judah Ari Gross tweeted that I was violating the family’s privacy and referenced this fraudulent statement by the IDF. If he did his homework like a good reporter would, he would’ve known his claim was false. But that would be expecting too much of the TOI (aka “The Voice of the IDF”). Further, two separate Israeli sports clubs have publicly announced Dvir’s death on Facebook. The IDF hasn’t had the chutzpah to force them to remove their announcements (yet). I would link to them here but it might aid the censors in their effort to stem the free flow of information.
It’s important to note that no matter how bad treatment for Israeli Jews may be in military prisons, it’s even worse for Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli prisons, where a number have died of similary negligent behavior.
Thankfully, we are not bound by Israeli censorship or gag orders. The young woman’s name was Dvir Kaplanski (pictured here) from Netanya. The YouTube video features her performance at the Israeli Nationals in 2010 (when she was 12). She deserved better. And the only way to make things better is by shining a light on the deficiencies in the IDF prison and health care system.