IDF: Death of Bil'in Woman Caused by Poor Medical Care in Ramallah

Military investigation finds that Jawaher Abu Rahmah was misdiagnosed and given the wrong treatment at the hospital after inhaling tear gas at a demonstration in Bil'in last month.

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

An Israel Defense Forces investigative committee looking into the death of Bil'in woman Jawaher Abu Rahmah has found that her death was caused by poor medical treatment that she received at a hospital in Ramallah.

Abu Rahmah, 36, was taken to the hospital after she inhaled tear gas fired by IDF forces during a demonstration in Bil'in against the West Bank security barrier at the end of December.

Palestinian, Israeli and foreign activists run away from tear gas in the West Bank village of Bil'in, December 31, 2010.Credit: Reuters

According to the IDF investigation, Rahmah's condition deteriorated at the hospital after she received an incorrect diagnosis and inappropriate treatment.

The IDF findings, which were presented to GOC Central Command Avi Mizrachi, were based on hospital documents, some which showed that doctors believed Abu Rahma was sickened by phosphorous fertilizer and nerve gas. She was therefore treated with atropine and fluids, without Palestinian doctors realizing that she had in fact inhaled tear gas.

The investigation also found that Abu Rahmah was not present at the demonstration itself, but instead was near her house.

Shortly after Abu Rahmah's death, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the incident as a  "new Israeli crime carried out by the occupation army against our helpless nation."

Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was killed by an extended-range tear gas projectile fired at his chest by IDF soldiers at a demonstration against the security barrier in Bil'in on April 17, 2009.