Israeli brothers poisoned by pesticides released from hospital

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two brothers poisoned after inhaling pesticides in their Jerusalem home were released from the hospital.

Michael Gross, 7, and Yitzhak Gross, 5, were discharged from Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petach Tikvah on Monday nearly a month after the family of six became ill from the pesticides. Connected to life-saving equipment, the boys were not given a great chance to survive, but doctors now say they have not suffered any long-term damage.

Their sisters — Avigail, 1, and Yael, 4 — died from the poison.

The brothers, wearing matching blue striped shirts, walked out of the hospital by themselves accompanied by their parents, Michal and Shimon.

“Our emotions are running high today and it is hard to digest everything that has happened,” Shimon Gross said in a news conference at the hospital. “We are going home today with two healthy, whole children, something that is hard to believe and we are grateful that we are here to see this day.

“On the other hand, it is hard not to have thoughts of Avigail and Yael. During this time we have practically not left the hospital, but we have felt the enormous love and the influence of the many prayers that have been said for the boys and a tremendous sense of unity. This has given us the strength to continue during this difficult time, and we feel that we are part of a very special nation.”

The family became ill on Jan. 21 and sought medical attention for diarrhea and vomiting, but medical staff failed to diagnose their condition as poisoning. One of the girls stopped breathing the following day; both girls died in a Jerusalem hospital.

The exterminator, who used poison lethal to humans, remains under house arrest. He had left the poison in a closed container in the apartment planning to complete the job the following day.

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