Around 2:00 P.M. yesterday the logistics manager at Haemek Hospital in Afula informed the head nurse in the hospital's emergency room that Haemek had run out of partitions for the beds in the department. The nurses would therefore be forced to use improvised screens around the beds for the increasing numbers of patients the emergency room was receiving.
The hospital deferred elective surgery yesterday and only performed urgent operations due to the labor action.
Yesterday's nurses sanctions raised concerns that patients destined for the internal medicine wards would back up in emergency rooms, but at Haemek, the phenomenon has existed for months. The hospital's 114 internal medicine patient beds haven't met demand for some time, and on a regular basis, occupancy reaches 140 percent and higher. The situation has become so persistent that the internal medicine units have set up extension facilities in the emergency room. The internal medicine annex in the emergency room accommodates 14 patients, men and women, placed together in crowded conditions with patient partitions separating them. They also lack their own toilet and shower facilities.
"It's a difficult feeling, an insulting feeling," said patient Miriam Moshe of Moshav Sde Trumot. "What can you do? The patients don't really interest the government."
A senior emergency room nurse, Oshrat Caspo, said it pained her to see the patients in such a condition. "[The patients placed in the emergency room] also don't get the optimal care they deserve," she said.
She noted that there are elderly patients at the hospital who built the communities in the Jezreel Valley with their own hands. "And now, when the state should be helping them, they are not being provide a proper old age," she said.
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