Judge Rules Doctors Should Face Charges in Girl's Death

The Haifa Magistrate's Court ruled yesterday that criminal charges should be brought against Dr. Gideon Shoshani and Dr. Edmund Kassis, the two surgeons suspected of negligently causing the death of an 11-year-old girl at the Rambam Medical Center four years ago.

Judge Josef Elron was appointed to look into the death of the girl, who was taken from the institute for retarded children where she resided to the hospital's emergency room in January 1999. Among the physicians to treat the girl were Shoshani and Kassis. In September 1999, Elron ruled that, based on the coroner's report, the two should face criminal charges. Dr. Chen Kugel found that the death was caused "after very severe bruising to the genitals and rectum."

In July 2001, however, in a very step, Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein petitioned the High Court to have Elron's ruling overturned, on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support criminal charges. The High Court ordered the police to complete its investigation into the death, and it is following the completion of the police's work that Elron made his ruling yesterday.

In his ruling, Elron wrote that Shoshani's police testimony "is full of contradictions, denials and expressions that clearly suggest medical negligence." Elron asked for the file to betaken away from attorney Moshe Cohen of the Haifa district prosecution service. The judge has been unusually critical of Cohen's handling of the case.