Hanna Maron, the actor who lost her leg 40 years ago in a terror attack in Germany, was recently denied a new artificial limb by the National Insurance Institute.
The institute had told her she'd have to wait for four years to pass from the time she received the previous one. After our inquiries, the NII said yesterday that Maron would receive a new prosthesis and apologized for any misunderstanding.
Under cumbersome new regulations, however, Maron and other amputees will still have to prove they need a prosthesis every time they apply for a replacement.
"I haven't cried for a long time," Maron said yesterday. "But talking to the National Insurance clerk I broke down."It's so humiliating, so hurtful."
Maron said she explained to the head clerk who gives the approvals that she needed a new prosthesis because the old one was no longer stable and was not safe to use.
The clerk replied that she could only replace the limb once every four years and it was not yet time to do so.
In addition, Maron was told two years ago that "now they will have to examine my condition every time before approving a prosthesis," she said.
The new procedure is long, complicated and unnecessary when dealing with a permanent disability. The applicant must apply to an institution called the "Lewis Institute" for an opinion by Professor Michael Heim. To be examined by Professor Heim the applicant must go to the new rehabilitation center at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv.
The patient must bring a form from his Health Maintenance Organization undertaking to pay for any operation or hospitalization.
Before that the applicant must send by fax a special request to the NII for approval to have the examination.
"I'm not sure what they're checking for," Maron said. "Whether I'm still missing a leg? Or maybe I don't need it anymore? The prosthesis is my security, my lifebelt. Every night I stand and walk for two hours on the stage."
At the age of 86 Maron still performs almost every night.
The NII commented: "Mrs. Maron is entitled to a replacement prosthesis. She was referred to a specialist to fit her with a special prosthesis. We apologize if there was a misunderstanding and are at Mrs. Maron's service for any request or clarification."
The NII also said it would reexamine the new procedure.
On February 10, 1970, on her way to London to play the role of Golda in Fiddler on the Roof, Maron's El Al flight was hijacked by terrorists and she was badly wounded. Her leg had to be amputated.
Maron overcame her disability and has performed since then on stage, in motion pictures and on television. She received the Israel Prize for theater in 1973.
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