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Palestinian worker dies after Israel hospital refuses treatment

Beilinson Hospital [Ynhockey/Wikipedia]

A Palestinian family is suing Israel for negligence after a hospital refused to treat their father who had been admitted after a workplace accident, according to Ynet News.

Moein Haja, a 56-year-old father from the village of Burqa near Ramallah, was injured during his job as a construction worker in Tayibe, an Arab city in central Israel, and was taken to Beilinson Hospital at the Rabin Medical Centre.

Yet despite being in a serious condition Haja was transferred eight days later to the West Bank after his employer refused to confirm that he was working in Israel. He passed away two days after that due to a lack of appropriate facilities at the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus.

Israel can refuse treatment to Palestinians as per the Oslo Accords which transferred the responsibility for healthcare to the Palestinian Authority.

Commenting on the case, Attorney Pesach Stamler, who represents the family, said: “It’s unclear how Beilinson [Hospital] dared to cast off someone who was on a respirator and under general anaesthesia. Was it not clear halting treatment to transfer him to the territories will lead to his death?”

“It’s unclear why there’s no way of instructing the hospital to continue treating a patient at least until a preliminary inquiry into the circumstances of his injury is undertaken. Everything is done out of financial consideration.”

Haja’s children have also spoken of their shock at the decision to transfer their father, who was transported to Nablus without their knowledge.

“This is negligence of the highest order. Instead of treating him, they threw him away to die. We have to find out who decided to transfer him to a hospital that couldn’t save his life. Its utter disrespect towards human life,” said one of his sons.

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Haja’s family were unable to stay with their father during his admission to hospital after Israel granted his wife and son permits for two days only. Having returned to Ramallah, they were informed several days later that Haja was in Nablus.

The hospital to which Haja was transferred was ill-equipped to deal with his injuries due to the shortage of public funds in the occupied territories. Rafidia Hospital lacks crucial resources and medication, with many of the facilities being inadequate to receive ill patients.

In response, Beilinson hospital in Israel said only that transferring patients from the territories does not require their families’ signatures and is carried out in coordination with other authorities.

Questions have also been raised as to why Haja’s employer refused to sign forms that would allow him to continue to receive care in Israel, despite admitting verbally to the hospital that Haja worked for him.

“The employer’s signature would have also allowed the deceased to be recognised as someone who suffered a workplace injury for the National Insurance Institute’s purposes, going towards paying medical expenses,” Attorney Stamler said.

Haja’s family has brought a lawsuit against the hospital for neglect. “Dad had rights, and we want answers,” his son demanded.

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