The management of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center has moved to fire one of its physicians following allegations that he gave food to a terrorist who carried out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem and called him a “martyr.”
Following complaints on the subject that reached the hospital’s management, Dr. Ahmed Mahajana, a doctor in the cardiothoracic surgery department, was summoned for a pre-termination hearing on November 13 and later told that he would be fired.
According to the inquiry’s summary describing the events, on October 26, he and another hospital employee entered the patient’s room, who was in police custody, and gave him plates of food and praised him.
According to the information given to the Hadassah management, the police officers who were in the room realized that it was not food distributed by the hospital, moved the plates away and asked the doctor to identify himself.
Mahajana allegedly refused the request even when it was explained to him that he was obliged to do so, and insulted a policeman who photographed him and told him that he was “stupid.”
He also allegedly told two employees in his department that the detainee was a “martyr.”
In a letter summarizing the hearing sent to the Medical Association, the hospital stated that “in his actions and statements, Dr. Mahajana fundamentally and blatantly violated his duties towards Hadassah, including the duty of trust that is at the basis of the working relationship between the parties, and committed serious disciplinary violations, which justify taking disciplinary measures.”
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“Therefore, Hadassah believes that the necessary step in view of Dr. Mahajana’s actions is to terminate his employment with Hadassah, and this is how it intends to act,” it added.
However, the letter stated that a final decision has not yet been made on the matter.
Mahajana, who has been a resident at the hospital for the past four years, denied the allegations. He said that the food left over from the event was distributed to several patients in the heart and chest surgery department.
“On the day the incident occurred, we were celebrating the passing of my and another doctor’s specialty exams,” he described, “there was a lot of food left, so the auxiliary and kitchen workers offered to distribute what was left to the patients instead of throwing it away. At the time, there were four patients in the ward, and the refreshments were distributed to everyone.”
He said that the hospital and the media completely misrepresented the incident and that, “I went over and checked on him, I asked him how he was doing,” he repeated, “I asked the policemen to take him off the bed for physical therapy. I left and went to the doctors’ room, and then a policeman came to me and started yelling. After him another policeman came and told me in a very blunt way: ’Bring your ID, you must give it to me if I ask.’”
He noted that he did not take a picture with the terrorist, and emphasized: “I never said to the terrorist ‘congratulations’…and certainly not ‘martyr.’”
The Israeli Medical Association expressed its opposition to Mahajana’s dismissal, sending a letter to Hadassah’s management stating that “in the disciplinary committee that was held in the matter, no sufficient factual basis was laid, no evidence was brought before the disciplinary committee, and no witnesses were heard either on behalf of the doctor or on behalf of the management” and the allegations were not proven.