‘Why does my son have to pay for a political protest?’- Israel’s medical strike denies child critical surgery

“I sat with my wife in the hospital lobby, on the verge of tears,” says father of 8-year-old denied lung surgery. “How far will they go?”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Israeli father and mother were left fuming after their son was denied crucial lung surgery due to a strike called by the Israeli Medical Association as an act of protest over the passage of a bill restricting the Supreme Court’s powers.

Although the Medical Association pledged that the strike would not hurt patients, numerous people were denied surgeries and treatments for which they had waited months.

Asher and Rebecca Ilovitch arrived at Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petah Tikvah on Tuesday morning with their eight-year-old son, who has special needs, for lung surgery. Because the procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, their son had been fasting since the previous night.

But the parents were shocked to learn that their son would not undergo surgery, nor would he be able to see a doctor, due to the strike.

“We arrived at the lung department after taking a day off and mentally prepared ourselves to support Lavi, our sweet son,” Asher Ilovitch told Ynet.

“The secretaries apologized and explained that the operation was canceled because of the strike, and told us that the hospital management forbade them to call and inform the parents that they shouldn’t come to the hospital and that the children could stop fasting.”

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Ilovitch said that the night before the surgery, shortly after the passage of the law, they had called the hospital to confirm that the surgery was still taking place. At the time, the hospital told them that the procedure would happen, he said.

“I want my son’s doctor to look me in the eyes and tell me why my son has to pay for their political protest,” Ilovitch said.

“How does this action save my son? I want to see [the doctor] shut down his private clinic – of course he won’t do that. How did we get to the point where public medicine is working to block medical treatment? I sat with my wife in the hospital lobby, on the verge of tears. How far will they go?”

Rebecca Ilovitch told Walla that “it’s possible to debate and argue and express an opinion. But there are red lines that can’t be crossed.

“Healthcare and providing medical services to the helpless are [above all.] Who will promise me that my son’s health will not deteriorate because the operation was postponed?

“Who will pay me for the days of work I missed? And above all, who will compensate us for the difficult feeling and heartache with which we left the hospital in shame?”