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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Health Ministry’

Ebola Victim Dies in Texas; Israel Gears Up to Meet Threat

Friday, October 10th, 2014

The first person on American soil diagnosed with the lethal Ebola virus, 42-year-old Thomas Eric Duncan, died Wednesday just before the Jewish Sukkot holiday, according to NBC News.

Duncan, a Liberian national who was diagnosed just days after arriving in Texas from Liberia, succumbed after nearly two weeks of battling the virus in an isolation room in a Dallas hospital. He had been treated with the experimental medication brincidofovir. The same medication is now being used to treat American journalist Ashoka Mukpo, who was airlifted from Liberia to a hospital to Nebraska on Monday.

Since the outbreak began in West Africa in March, more than 3,400 people have died from the Ebola virus out of nearly 7,500 confirmed, probable and suspected cases.

The U.S. has announced plans to begin screening air passengers arriving from affected countries sometime this weekend.

In Israel, meanwhile, health care officials are gearing up to deal with the strong possibility that Ebola may arrive in the Jewish State.

Israel is noting the progression of the disease across the continents as it moves closer to the Middle East.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gathered top ministers in his Jerusalem office just prior to the start of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot to review Israel’s readiness for the Ebola virus.

Health Minister Yael German, Transportation and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz, Deputy Interior Minister Fania Kirsenbaum, and representatives from Israel Police, the Airports Authority and the Foreign Ministry participated in the discussion.

Officials from the health ministry presented information on the current global situation regarding the spread and transmission of the virus.

The greatest concern about the spread of the disease was focused on Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the communique from the prime minister’s office. Government officials resolved to identify people entering the country from those nations, where the virus is the most prevalent. The foreign and health ministries are both advising Israelis to avoid travel to those areas as well.

Three mobile clinics have been dispatched by Israel to affected areas in western Africa to help combat the illness, the committee said.

Also this week, a Spanish nurse who became the first person to contract the virus outside of West Africa was admitted to hospital, according to a report by the BBC. Teresa Romero was part of a team of 30 staff caring for two missionaries who later died from the virus after returning from West Africa. Romero told the El Pais newspaper she believed she may have contracted the disease while removing her protective suit after cleaning one of the missionaries’ rooms.

Two doctors who treated her have also been admitted to the hospital for observation; so far, neither has shown any symptoms of Ebola, a spokesperson for the Carlos III Medical Center confirmed.

Romero’s brother was quoted as saying her health has worsened and she is now being helped with her breathing.

A Spanish court order to euthanize the nurse’s dog was issued Tuesday even though it was not clear whether the animal was infected or even bore any risk of carrying the disease. Protesters quickly gathered outside Romero’s home after animal rights groups were alerted by her husband, who is also being kept in isolation in a hospital as a precaution; they tried to stop the government van that came to remove the dog from her home.

In other parts of the world, Australia has also reported its first case of the disease this week, and a Turkish worker has been hospitalized with a suspected case in Istanbul as well.

Health officials in Germany have confirmed a third Ebola patient who arrived in the country after having contracted the illness in Liberia.

The Adventures of the Jewish Nurse in the Land of Israel

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

There is one profession in Israel of manual labor and endless running around whose practitioners are required to undergo higher education. Nursing. They are of all different ages. Young women who just finished nursing school, full of energy and joie de vivre, work alongside older women who have been on the same demanding job in the same department for years. None will ever be promoted as a reward for dedicated work. The only thing they receive is a feeling of having served society and helped other people.

Schwarze schwester,” they used to be called in Jerusalemite Yiddish. Lowly functionaries working protracted, exhausting shifts, running silently throughout the long night through the patients’ rooms like angels in white, offering relief to aching body and soul. It is a noble profession, many of whose members leave their families and children to tend to others, only to return home to then tend to their families as well. Day and night cease to have meaning. Just running, endless running through the long halls of the different departments with their greyish fluorescent illumination, all day breathing in the bacteria of the hospital air.

I have such a nurse at home. I see her come home after a shift, wrung dry like a lemon, wanting nothing but an hour to recover from the day’s events. Sometimes she was yelled at by the agitated father of a boy she treated. Sometimes, because of limited manpower, she did the work of two nurses, because there simply was no additional nurse who could take the shift. Either that, or someone wanted to save money.

The savings don’t get passed on to her, although she and her family pay dearly for a nurse to come to their home, broken from exhaustion, but needing to get up again and start working as a mother. The monthly pay slip comes, and it is again obvious that the salary bears no relation to the effort. Without an accumulation of especially difficult shifts, it isn’t even enough to get by.

So what is it about this profession that attracts so many Jewish women?

Giving. Humility. Precisely the things that make it stand out against more glamorous career choices. It is a career without an ego. Just soulfulness, goodwill, and desire to help.

A nurse always receives her instructions from a doctor, sometimes one who just arrived at the department, a young person who still doesn’t know much. But even with all her accumulated experience, she has to do what he says.

Take the one in my family: a nurse who has been in the field for thirty years and has saved the lives of a good number of people. Just a month ago she rushed a patient to the ultrasound lab because, without any tests, with only her hard-earned expertise, she could tell that the patient was suffering from an abdominal hemorrhage. Even with her experience, she can’t administer certain medical treatments without a doctor, inexperienced though he may be, to say nothing of writing prescriptions or determining dosage.

She must always display the knowledge she has gained pleasantly and with humility. On many occasions she’s had to tell a young doctor—as gently as can be, so as not to insult—to change the treatment instructions already given.

The nurses are forever caught between a rock and a hard place, between the expert doctor, the intern on call, the national service girl, and the patients. Nursing is tough. But it is noble, pure, and all about helping others.

This is why the public has to take the side of the nurses who are on strike, more than it would have to side with striking doctors, for instance. Because of the dedication. Because of the humility. Because of the need to show some gratitude to those who chose a career that is so lackluster but so full of light, to which so many people owe their lives.

The Ministry of Health needs to enact the following measures:

Expand the pool of available nurses by increasing the basic salary. This will allow nurses to tend to their patients without arriving in the room out of breath, with another two or three patients already yelling “nurse!” in vain from the other end of the department.

Lawyers Deny Rumor that Controversial Pathologist Yehuda Hiss Was Fired

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Attorneys for Pathologist Yehuda Hiss, considered the man who knows “where all the bodies are buried” (including the questionable circumstances of the assassination of a prime minister some seventeen years ago) are saying the rumors about his being fired by Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman s on Monday are premature.

Hiss has been a controversial figure for years, and his Abu Kabir forensic lab has been involved in a number of strange controversies and scandals revolving around the collection of bodies organs as well reports of missing body parts and other organs from dead bodies that passed through his lab.

Families have complained for years that the bodies of dead family members they received back were missing organs, and the bodies were stuffed with other materials to hide the missing parts.

Initially the Health Ministry wanted to try to reunite the found body parts and bury them with their original bodies, but the job of identifying each unlabeled organ and sample to their their original owner has proven to difficult to do.

Hundreds of people have contacted the Health Ministry to try to reclaim body parts over the past few months since the initiative “Final Resting Place” was launched, where the Health Ministry tries to link as many parts to their owners as they can so they can get a proper burial.

But due to the difficulty in identifying all the parts to their original bodies, the Health Ministry created a mass grave for many of the 8288 body parts, many of them not documented, that Hiss and his lab had collected over the years.

Some are upset their family member’s body parts went into a mass grave.

Others have wondered why it took so long for Hiss to be fired, and that is a whole other story.

Health Ministry: Breast is Best in Israel

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Israel’s Health Ministry will begin a more concentrated effort to encourage women to breastfeed their babies, instituting new policies in hospitals starting September 1.

Mothers of newborns will receive explanations of the many health benefits of breastfeeding, and their babies will only be given formula if the mothers expressly request it, according to the new policy.  Immediately after birth, interested mothers will be eligible to receive lactation guidance from experts on site.

If a health reason for the mother or child necessitates formula feeding, or the mother otherwise chooses not to breastfeed, she will be given a choice between two formulas.  Prior to the switch, babies were fed formula from birth unless the mother expressed interest in breastfeeding, or from birth until the mother determined she was ready to begin breastfeeding.

Under the new initiative, mothers will be offered the option of rooming with their newborns, and babies who are fed formula or water will have the amounts recorded in their medical charts.  Newborns who are nursing will also not be offered pacifiers.

The choice of two different formulas will also break the monopoly of formula companies which provide free formula to newborns in the hospital.  The new regulations will prohibit the distribution of formula, baby foods, teas, and baby bottles in the hospital, and will remove all advertisements for baby foods and formulas from hospitals, health clinics, and national well-baby (Tipat Chalav) clinics.

The health ministry and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life, with breastfeeding plus supplements being recommend even past the first year.

Israeli IVF Success Doubles in Decade

Monday, May 14th, 2012

A new Health Ministry reports shows that a whopping 25 percent of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)treatments resulted in pregnancies, with 20% of attempts resulting in live births.  The number represents the doubling of success in the last decade.

According to the report, 4.1% of births in Israel were the result of IVF treatments in 2010, compared to 2.5% in 1997.  In 2010, 8,123 IVF cycles resulted in pregnancy, with 4,217 achieving success in 2000.

The average women gave birth to 1.2 babies, a consistent figure which is accounted for by the common Israeli practice of returning only one or two embryos to a woman’s body, so as to avoid the risk of multiple births.

Healthy ministry officials attribute the surge in success to Israeli advancement in IVF technology and procedure, and extensive scientific and medical research.

Israeli law provides all women with free and unlimited IVF procedures for up to two live babies.  In 2011, 35,000 IVF cycles were completed throughout the country, up from 18,011 in 2000.

Among the reasons for the rising figures in IVF treatment success is the advanced scientific and medical research in the field of medicine.

In May, Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek hospital celebrated its 200th successful pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) IVF procedure, in which doctors examine embryos on the molecular level to assist families with pre-dispositions for debilitating genetic disorders to have healthy children.

Dr. Michael Gal, Senior Physician in Shaarei Zedek’s IVF unit, told the Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher that Israel has the highest number of IVF units per capita in the world because of government support and because “we love children here”.

Government Job Cuts to Pay for Gas Tax Reduction

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced before pesach that he would lower the gas taxes by 15 agurot. However, he waited until no one was paying attention – due to the media focus on the Machpela House incident with Defense Minister Barak – to announce that 2% of government jobs would be cut in order to fund the tax reduction. Netanyahu explained that lowering taxes means shrinking the government, and, this time, cutting taxes means cutting public sector jobs. He emphasized that no one needs to be fired if enough workers embrace early retirement or quit, but conceded that this means the ministries will not be hiring for a long time.

Among those affected are the Justice Ministry, which will lose 134 jobs, Homeland Security Ministry (77), Health Ministry (48), Defense Ministry (45), Education Ministry (43), Industry and Trade Ministry (37), Prime Minister’s Office (35), Welfare Ministry (19), State Comptroller (12), and the President’s Office, which will need to lay off one worker.

There will be many exemptions. Minority workers will keep their jobs, since the government must reach its target of a 10% employment rate of affirmative action groups in the public sector by the end of 2012. In addition, pressure from various groups has succeeded in exempting soldiers, policemen, doctors and nurses in hospitals, and teachers from the cuts.

Netanyahu is known to be a master spin-doctor, and the way he managed to cut public sector jobs by 2% under everyone’s noses will surely be added to his list of spin-doctor achievements.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/knesset/knesset-corner/government-job-cuts-to-pay-for-gas-tax-reduction/2012/04/19/

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