Name that country
Your article “Modi coming to West Bank” (February 9) noted how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi would “not be visiting Israel” on his trip.
Wait! What? It was bad enough that the article referred to Judea and Samaria by the name given them by the Hashemite kingdom in the 1940s, but then, to add insult to injury, it declared that I do not live in Israel.
In Ma’aleh Adumim, we have an enlistment rate of over 90% for serving the military of our country, called “Israel.” We pay taxes to the Israeli government and vote in Israeli elections. So what country do we live in?
ZE’EV M. SHANDALOV
Ignorant of history
With regard to “Nobody should buy this occupation” (The Fifth Column, February 9), no Jew, especially an Israeli – and even more specifically, the Jewish director of Amnesty International Israel – should be ignorant of Jewish history. And I heartily agree with Yonatan Gher that the occupation should end, meaning the occupation of Jewish land by a fake nation.
Mr. Gher should know that this land, to which we have had title since biblical times, has thrived only under the Jews. For 2,000 years it lay barren and bereft of people; it waited until we returned to spring back to life. And because it did, the Arabs came to enjoy its benefits and now claim it all. (Yes, all, and not just the West Bank.)
Has Mr. Gher not heard of San Remo or the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine? The Mandate for Palestine is a legal document that remains so to this day. It’s time he read it before shouting about “illegal settlement” under international law. The West Bank is legally ours under international law, and not because we conquered it in 1967.
The Geneva Convention has nothing to do with it, meaning his whole column is based on an erroneous premise and not worth the paper on which The Jerusalem Post printed it.
To accompany “Nobody should buy this occupation,” you chose a picture that is incendiary, one-sided – and misleading!
The caption says: “Security personnel clash with protesters in Bethlehem.” First off, the helmeted figures on the left are members of the press with cameras. Second, the soldier on the right does not even have his gun drawn. And the “protesters”? Where are they?
Is the professor kidding?
We read – with incredulity – Prof. Zeev Rotstein’s “Despite everything, Hadassah’s Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department is world-class” (Comment & Features, February 8). It was written in response to an earlier opinion piece by Ben Shaffer about his cancer-stricken son’s recent experience at Hadassah (“All parents in Jerusalem should be fighting for world-class cancer care,” Comment & Features, February 6).
We do not wish to buy into the controversy. We have neither specific knowledge nor, thankfully, personal experience. As parents and grandparents, we are grateful not to have been dealt the cards to walk that path, and we hold in the highest regard the devoted medical professionals who seek to heal.
Yet from the start, Prof. Rotstein’s piece sharply jarred our sensibilities as former lawyers in Australia. Our studies included a core of learning about the centrality of lawyer-client confidentiality and, yes, doctor-patient confidentiality. Patients need to feel confident in disclosing personal information to their doctor, and this trust is a vital component of the relationship.
Doctors have a general ethical and legal duty to protect the privacy of their patients’ medical records and personal information, and there are strict guidelines governing their release to third parties.
Mr. Shaffer had written of his son’s dates of hospital admission and the reason for hospitalization. Prof. Rotstein repeated those matters, but went from there to disclose the boy’s given name (which Mr. Shaffer had not) and give details of who examined the boy and the frequency of that doctor’s conversations with the boy’s mother.
Unbelievably and most worryingly, for the stated reason of cross-referencing what the doctor said about examining the boy, Prof. Rotstein relied on “the medical record that I have attached to this letter.” At least The Jerusalem Post had the sense not to publish the record.
Other than in exceptional circumstances permitted by law, medical records should not, without express, up-to-date written consent of the patient or his guardian, be disclosed to third parties (unless the patient would expect such disclosure to take place, such as to other medical professionals). This is certainly the legal position we have knowledge of, and which we believe to be the case in Israel.
We make full disclosure here that we are acquainted with the boy’s grandparents and are informed that such patient consent was not given.
If in our lawyer days we had been consulted about such circumstances, we would have given consideration to possible legal recourse or referral to the profession’s licensing body for breach of confidentiality.
It is also regrettable that Prof. Rotstein’s stated intents – to apply the lessons learned from the events that Mr. Shaffer described and make good on his purported apology to Mr. Shaffer – are overshadowed and even negated by low-level point-scoring and self-directed plaudits on the success of the Hadassah pediatric oncology department.
Greater the pity that there should be one or more in a parent body who remain unsatisfied with cancer care for children in Jerusalem.
JOE and ANNA KRYCER
The rebuttal by Zeev Rotstein provides an opportunity to make a necessary point about medical practice.
It is not my purpose to get involved in the bitter dispute at Hadassah, however Prof. Rotstein is quite correct in one thing: The case mentioned refers to a child who had fever and a low blood count following chemotherapy, a common complication. Yet the parents apparently repeatedly demanded that a “specialist oncologist” see their son from the start, notwithstanding that it was Shabbat, when these particular specialists are not in the hospital. They were upset that a “mere pediatrician” had treated him, successfully as it fortunately turned out.
The parents were behaving in a way that the Israeli public has become accustomed to, and they were deeply mistaken on two counts:
1. Specialists deal with the very specific issues surrounding limited areas of medical practice. They are emphatically not better equipped to deal holistically with the whole person, and especially not with common and general complications.
The medical literature has shown many times that physicians with broad expertise and general experience deal with many common problems just as well as “specialists,” and often more cheaply.
2. The parents, not being doctors, should not have second-guessed the medical professionals and gone on aggressively demanding something beyond their understanding and scope. Yet that is what happened – and it happens many thousands of times every day.
The medical system as a whole is partly to blame for giving people the impression that a “specialist” is always better.
An old medical adage comes to mind: “A specialist is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing.”
The writer is head of the Department of Paediatrics at Ziv Medical Center in Safed.