Touro Hospital Closes Operating Rooms on Jewish Holidays

In a reversal of policy, Touro Hospital in this city has announced that its operating rooms will not be open for routine surgical procedures during the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. However, staff and facilities will be maintained to perform emergency operations.

The hospital’s action followed a campaign within the Jewish community to afford Jewish holidays the same recognition given Christian holidays. Public clinic work has been suspended on Jewish holidays for a number of years.

The action by the hospital’s board of trustees followed a survey of Jewish hospital practices in major American cities. It was discovered that of 17 Jewish hospitals in cities of approximately the same size as New Orleans, all but one closed their operating rooms for the Jewish holidays, except for emergencies.

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