#PalHunger | URGENT | Advanced stages of hunger strike and still IPS obstructs access to independent doctors

Physicians for Human Rights Israel

Dear Colleagues,

In face of the complete reluctance of the IPS to allow PHR Israel’s doctor to regularly visit the detainees on advanced stages of hunger strikes PHR Israel took the following actions today, Saturday May 5th:

Bilal Diab

PHR Israel learnt that he refuses treatment and examinations, and takes only water without supplements from Thursday, May 3rd (see later his return to receive vitamins and minerals but refusal to be examined). When last visited by PHR Israel’s doctor informed her that he trusts her and will listen to her advice. PHR Israel believes that her visit has a chance of convincing Bilal to be examined and consult on his treatment. Thus

a) PHR Israel passed an urgent email to Dr. Roni Gamzu, executive director of the Ministry of Health and Assaf HaRofe Hospital (where Bilal is hospitalized) demanding that PHR Israel’s doctor will be allowed to see Bilal today. PHR Israel clarified that this demand is in line with medical ethics, and Israeli legislation (The Right of the Patient Law) according to which a patient is entitled to a second opinion. PHR Israel emphasized, that the refusal of the IPS to allow such a visit, is not an excuse for the hospital or the MOH to avoid taking an action, as the hospital is under the direct authority of the MOH and must adhere to medical ethics and laws. PHR-Israel demanded a reply today, so it will not be forced to address the courts in an appeal against the MOH and the hospital. PHR Israel had also protested in the letter against Bilal’s shackling while in hospital, and the fact that the hospital does not find itself obligated to update Bilal’s family, who is dependent on rumors or PHR Israel’s ability to gain information.

b) PHR Israel will appeal today to the District Court demanding the IPS to allow our doctor’s visit, and Bilal’s family visit.

c) In the meantime, PHR Israel’s doctor phoned Assaf HaRofe Hospital identiying herself as his treating doctor, and giving her liscense number. Contrary to medical ethics according to which doctors should cooperate with colleagues on behalf of patients, and to the Patients Right Law, information was with held from her, telling her only that his situation is “stable”. Only following her insistence was she told that the doctor on the phone does not know Bilal, and although she is the only doctor on the ward today, she did not examine him. This is while his condition he must be examined a few times a day. When PHR Israel’s doctor demanded to receive clear indicators, the hospital doctor explained he refused to be examined, that his INR (the time it takes blood to clot) from a few days earlier is longer than average, and that another doctor wrote – when passing her the shift – that he started to accept fluids, vitamins and salts but still refuses examinations. PHR Israel’s doctor protested that longer INR cannot have allowed to say Bilal is “stable”. Following the conversation the hospital doctor promised to examine him and update PHR Israel’s doctor.

d) MK Dr. Ahmad Tibi gave PHR Israel with the most recent testimony of a doctor about Bilal’s medical condition. Dr. Tibi saw Bilal while his case was heard in the High Court of Justice, following the request of Judge Rubinstein after Bilal collapsed in court. According to Dr. Tibi’s report Bilal was then on the 67th day of hunger strike his blood pressure was 80/108, pulse 48, temperature 35 and his speech slow and with great difficulty. Bilal complained of feeling cold, and that he had lost 20 kg. He also said he almost does not feel his feet, and almost did not react to Dr. Tibi’s sting there. He looked pail and weak, and Dr. Tibi recommended his immediate transfer to hospital due to danger to his life. 

Dr. Tibi states that he learnt Bilal stopped taking infusion, which enhances the danger to his life. He think that a meeting with a doctor he trusts or his family can help convincing him in that.

Reading this report PHR Israel’s doctor, indicates: “The fact he [Bilal] is hypothermic, can be a sign of infection or acute decrease in his metabolism, or Hypothyroidism. His loss of “feeling in his feet indicate a damage to the peripheral nerves. All these necessitate urgent lab tests. 

Thaer Halhaleh,

Last seen by PHR Israel’s doctor on Thursday May 3. She recommended his transfer to hospital. PHR Israel has no information about his current situation and is attempting to coordinate another visit. (see IPS response next paragraph)

Hassan Safadi

PHR Israel succeeded in having the court ordering the IPS to allow our doctor to visit Hassan no later than 07.5.12. When PHR Israel tried to coordinate the visit for Friday, Marina, assistant to the Prisoners’ officer responded “We do not have a doctor at the IPS clinic on Friday, so you cannot visit him”. When PHR Israel’s intervention coordinator reminded Marina that the IPS had declared officially that it has a doctor 24 hrs a day next to hunger strikers, Marina responded by saying: “you simply cannot come on Friday”.  This same response was given in regards to a visit of Thaer Halhaleh


;The IPS must allow visits of hunger strikers by independent doctors they trust

  1. Once hospitalized, the hospitals and the MOH should make sure that patients have access to independent doctors they trust, regardless of IPS policy
  2. No hunger striker – especially those reaching advanced stages and hospitalized – should be shackled.
  3. All hunger strikers – especially in advanced stages – must be allowed family visits, while they are still lucid
  4.  – Information must be given to families as to the medical condition of their loved ones, this is the responsiblity of the hospital and its medical staff in accordance with ;medical ethics and confidentiality
  5. A resolution must be reached so lives will be saved.

for more informaiton: Hadas Ziv 054-6623232


Hadas Ziv
Public Outreach
PHR Israel


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