From Haaretz: Hippocratic Oath trumps security fears at Israeli hospitals
The commitment of Israeli hospitals to treating perpetrators of
terror, says Charles Sprung, director of the general intensive care unit
at Hadassah in Ein Karem, and head of the hospital’s Institute of
Medicine, Ethics and Law – is indeed one of those things that cannot be
changed. Nor, he stresses, should it be....
Sprung, a religious
man, also cites the Oath of Maimonides, the famed 12th-century Jewish
physician, which obligates doctors to “never see in the patient anything
but a fellow creature in pain.” Sprung shrugs. That is all there is to
“Is it incumbent upon individuals in a nation whose very existence
is constantly being threatened to act compassionately toward those who
set out to destroy them?” asks Avi Rivkind, head of Hadassah’s Division
of Emergency Medicine and Trauma, in an oft-quoted 2009 paper
co-authored with colleagues from the IDF and Haifa's Rambam Medical
Center in the American Journal of Bioethics (“Medical Care for
Terrorists – To Treat or Not to Treat” by Gesundheit, Ash, Blazer and
Rivkind). “Should hospitals expend limited public health care resources
on a terrorist, thereby perhaps depriving other patients of medical
care?” the authors wonder.
The answer, they conclude, is clearly “yes.”
“It’s not that we applaud what such terrorists do,” explains Rivkind,
who has spent 30 years at Hadassah, a hospital which, due to its
location and the fact that it runs a sophisticated trauma unit, says it
has over the years treated more terror victims – and terrorists – than
any other medical institution in the country.
“Quite the opposite. They take human lives whereas we try to save them.
There is a big discrepancy between us and no bridge" between terrorists
and physicians, he says. “But we have our obligations under the
Hippocratic Oath. So, at the end of the day, there is really no
Read it all at Haaretz
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