JERUSALEM (Nov. 23)
Health Minister Victor Shemtov said that he “utterly rejects” aspersions cast on Sheba Hospital (formerly Tel Hashomer Hospital) in Tel Aviv for alleged negligence in the treatment of the Lod Airport massacre victims brought there during the night of May 30-31. Twenty-six Israelis and foreign tourists died and 70 were wounded in a machine-gun and grenade attack in the airport terminal by three Japanese gunmen in the service of an Arab terrorist organization.
Shemtov said that an investigating committee appointed after the massacre praised the hospital and the “selfless service” rendered by its doctors and nurses. He admitted, however, that the emergency arrangements that existed proved inadequate because of the unprecedented nature of the massacre and observed that “a lot of lessons were learned that night.”
Shemtov’s defense of Sheba Hospital was in response to a series of articles in the newspaper Haaretz which alleged that the hospital officials allowed injury victims to lie in the open for four hours while awaiting admission to an overcrowded, malfunctioning emergency room. The paper charged that the officials refused to transfer the wounded to other hospitals for reasons of prestige, and implied that some of the victims who died may have succumbed to loss of blood while awaiting treatment at Sheba Hospital.