Region | Palestinian Territories

Palestinian cancer patient refused treatment

The girl was dismissed from the Israeli hospital for the PNA’s failure to pay threatment fees

  • By Nasouh Nazzal, Correspondent
  • Published: 18:20 December 16, 2012
  • Gulf News

Ramallah: The management of the Israeli Kabalan Hospital in Rohovot has dismissed eight-year-old Gazan Leen Hassan, who has cancer in both kidneys, from that hospital’s care under the pretext that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has failed to settle the fees for the girl’s treatment.

The PNA has announced that many Israeli hospitals and medical centres have been dismissing Palestinian patients who urgently require medical assistance on the same grounds, saying that since Israel has been withholding Palestinian tax funds which can be used to settle all the outstanding medical fees.

Leen’s mother issued on Sunday an urgent petition to the PNA to help her dying daughter who had not completed her treatment in Israel after the occupation authorities cleared the woman and her daughter and sent them back to Gaza.

The mother said in a statement that she holds the hospital’s management responsible for the possible death of her daughter, as it did not give her the chance to try to come up with the treatment fees by herself. The woman added that treatment for her daughter is not possible in Gaza and unless the girl was given the necessary treatment in Israel, she would die.

Leen had been transferred by the Palestinian Health Ministry to Israel for treatment there as Leen’s father, who works for the PNA, can not afford his daughter’s treatment.

A senior official at the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah told Gulf News that Israeli hospitals and medical centres have been dismissing seriously ill Palestinians on the grounds that the PNA had failed to settle their treatment fees. The official stressed that the PNA has recently reduced the number of medical transfers outside the Territories, including those transferred to Jordan and Israel, but in extremely critical cases, the PNA has to transfer patients.

The official said that Israeli hospitals should handle those ill Palestinians more humanely, keeping in mind that Israel is currently withholding millions of Shekels of Palestinian tax revenues. The official said that Israel should deduct some of those funds to pay for the treatment fees of those patients and prioritise this to the paying the electric and water bills to Israeli companies in case the hospital refuses to wait for the payment of the treatment fees.

Israel decided to withhold Palestinian Authority tax revenues after the latter won statehood recognition at the United Nations General Assembly earlier this month.

The medical official said that Israeli hospitals and medical centres know for sure that their medical fees will be paid and that not even a single penny will be lost and the settlement of those fees is a matter of time till the problem of withholding the Palestinian funds is resolved with the Israeli government.

The official said that the case of Leen was not the first of its kind as other Israeli medical centres have already dismissed other Palestinian patients and some other hospitals have refused to admit critically ill patients unless they were provided with instantly paid medical coverage.

The official stressed that the Palestinian Ministry of Health knows for sure that dismissing Palestinian patients aims at putting more pressure on the PNA and the Palestinian leadership, but that method is uncivilised and inhumane.

The official said that the issue has already been transferred to the Palestinian top leadership which will give a decision in the case, assuming that those dismissed patients from Israel will probably be transferred to an Arab country like Jordan or Egypt.

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