Psychiatric Patient Stabs Doctor at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital

The hospital says the assailant passed through a metal detector not powerful enough to detect a knife.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

A psychiatric patient repeatedly stabbed a doctor at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital last Thursday, injuring her face and hands.The doctor needed an operation on one of her hands.

The patient, who was armed with two knives, was eventually subdued by two other doctors. “This was attempted murder in every respect,” an eyewitness said.

Ichilov employees said the entrance to the psychiatric clinic is the only entrance to the hospital without a metal detector. The staff has been asking for a detector for more than a year, but to no avail, they said.

Employees were also outraged by the absence of any official response to the incident from either the hospital’s management or its doctors’ union. “When a doctor is slapped, the hospitals usually call strikes and protests,” one said. “But after someone tried to murder a doctor, suddenly there’s a bizarre silence.”

Ichilov said it had ordered a metal detector for that entrance even before Thursday’s incident, and it will be installed in the coming days. It also said the assailant came in through the main entrance, which has a medical detector, but that the detector isn’t powerful enough to detect a knife. Still, it meets police and Health Ministry specifications, the hospital said.

Footage from security cameras shows that a guard inspected both the patient and his backpack but didn’t find the knives, the hospital added.

Asked how it could approve a metal detector incapable of detecting a knife, the Health Ministry said it receives its specifications for hospitals from the police. It added that the metal detector isn’t supposed to be a stand-alone measure but part of a multilayered security system.

Dr. Yossi Paz, who heads the Ichilov doctors’ union, said the union had decided not to call a protest so as not to harm the patients. He said the union sees the attack as very grave but did not explain why the union neglected to put out a statement about the incident.

A hallway in Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital. Credit: Nir Kafri