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Ido Segev

To all my English speaking friends - below is the English version of the letter regarding my dad's passing, that we posted yesterday. Thank you for all your support.

My father passed away on Yom Kippur eve.

He was admitted to the bone marrow transplantation department at the Sheba Medical Center (Tel Hashomer) two weeks prior to undergo a procedure aimed at preventing the recurrence of the cance...rous disease from which he suffered.

He chose this hospital because of the good reputation of its bone marrow transplantation department and went into the procedure in optimal health and on the recommendation of his doctors, who believed that he was absolutely fit to endure this aggressive procedure. However, 10 days after his admittance, his health deteriorated suddenly and unexpectedly and he died.

I have professional and medical questions regarding the quality of the isolation in the department, as well as the following: the fact that my father was not informed of injections that may have alleviated his pain during the treatment, the fact that the doctors were never alarmed (according to them) by the symptoms from which my father suffered, the fact that he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit too late, and many more. I will demand full answers to all those questions and will not rest until I get them.

Nevertheless, even if I receive satisfactory answers, I will forever live with the knowledge that the medical staff failed its duty. In its Hebrew version, the Hippocratic oath calls upon doctors not only to "apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required", but also to "remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug "and to "remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability". In other words, doctors should not only be professional, but also humane and caring for patients as individuals. The treatment my dad received at Sheba, however, was arrogant, disrespectful, and condescending.

For example, when my father complained, in distress, of agonizing abdominal pain to the nurse in the department, the nurse disregarded him disrespectfully and ordered him to stop complaining and whining. In another incident with a different nurse, he inquired how long he will have to be with an uncomfortable oxygen mask and was given the condescending reply: "Why, are you in a hurry? Do you want to go outside for a walk?" (my father would have liked very much to take a walk outside, but knew he was unable to).

Furthermore, the staff treated us, the accompanying family at his bedside, contemptuously. The senior doctor, who was principally in charge of my father's treatment, never spoke to my mother nor did he disclose the severity of his condition. He did not update her (or consult with her) about the medical procedures he was considering and the possible consequences of each one of them. When my family approached the doctors with some questions, both at the start and during the treatment, in order to alert the staff of potential complications which my father experienced at Sha'arei Tzedek hospital (after he was diagnosed), the doctors ignored them and treated my father according to "protocol", without explaining how they intend to adapt the treatment to suit my father's specific condition.

Is this what a highly reputed department looks like? Lacking a medical background, I can only judge the professionalism of the treatment that my father received by the attitude of the medical staff towards my father and my family.] Sadly, my heart is heavy. I cannot contemplate a professional doctor who treats his patients condescendingly or allows his subordinate medical staff to do so. Every department in a hospital is filled with people who are, first and foremost, individuals with unique worlds, including families, and only afterwards are they patients. They should, therefore, be treated accordingly: professionally, individually and with compassion and understanding towards them and their families. This is exactly the treatment I saw my father receive when he was hospitalized in Sha'arei Tsedek hospital a year and a half ago.

The doctors at Sheba medical center will surely answer my questions one way or another, explain their conduct and elaborate on how they did everything in their power to help my father. Even if it becomes clear they are "professionally covered", it is worthy to note this: they were not human and they were not humane.
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