‘Murdered in the coronavirus ward’ – gravestone blames Israeli hospital for death

“We are all Beilinson,” says the hashtag shared by at least seven medical centers defending the hospital where the death occurred.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Hospitals around Israel rallied Monday around one of their own after a picture of a gravestone accusing the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson of killing a Covid-19 patient surfaced on the internet Sunday.

Sharing a picture on Facebook of a dedicated staffer covered from head to toe in protective clothing while bending over an ill person in bed, hospitals from Haifa to Tel Aviv to Rehovot to Ashdod used the hashtag, “We are all Beilinson” in protest. So far, they include the Rambam, Ichilov, Sheba, Meir, Schneider, Kaplan and Assuta medical centers.

Beilinson responded with gratitude to the show of support.

“Dear hospital spokespeople, you have moved us greatly with the post you uploaded. Besides the ongoing battle against Corona, we have to face another frontier of extreme discourse that we have never known before. Thank you for your determined support. The professional and dedicated medical staff in Israel.”

The photo that aroused the storm blurs out the name of the woman. The marker says, “Murdered in the Coronavirus ward by Beilinson Hospital on the 14th of Tishrei [October 20],” adding the standard sentence used after such a crime – “May God avenge her blood.”

The hospital reacted with stunned anger to the accusation.

“The hospital is shocked … and expresses disgust at the serious and inciting statement bereft of any factual basis, as written on the tombstone,” the hospital said in a statement, adding that it was weighing all its options, including taking legal steps.

The hospital explained that it admitted an elderly, unvaccinated woman who had been “treated at her home for a significant time” and suffered a pulmonary embolism as well as a heart attack. She was also infected with Covid-19, and “the staff of the coronavirus ward treated her with endless devotion and with constant accompaniment and dialogue with the family.”

Its personnel were “deeply saddened” by what the hospital deemed “this desecration,” saying its Covid ward staff “have treated and are treating hundreds of patients with dedication and professionalism and work day and night to save patients’ lives.”

Prof. Gili Regev, head of the Department for the Prevention and Control of Infections in Sheba Medical Center, told Ynet Monday that she had seen the picture of the gravestone the previous day and it was still giving her “chills.”

“It’s simply awful,” she said. “It’s base ingratitude to the medical world. We, the medical staff, are all risking our lives. We treat everyone, even those who aren’t vaccinated, despite the fear of getting infected, and that’s what they write? It’s a crime.”

Assuta Medical Center spokesman Ohad Yechezkeli, added that “what was done to Beilinson crosses a red line, and the goal of the joint organization of the hospitals is to strengthen Beilinson Hospital and convey the message that at this time, we are all united as one.”

Beilinson has filed a complaint with the police about incitement to violence against the hospital staff over the incident.