Hospitals to Test 2,000 Ex-patients of Surgeon With AIDS

Ichilov, private hospitals to administer blood tests to patients operated on by surgeon over last six years.

Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital has called in roughly 1,000 former patients for blood tests, after final tests confirmed on Tuesday that a senior heart surgeon at the hospital has contracted AIDS.

The patients, who were all operated on by the surgeon during his six years at the hospital, will be brought in starting Wednesday at 8 A.M. in order to rule out the possibility that they contracted AIDS from the doctor.

The surgeon also worked at several other hospitals: Carmel Medical Center and Horev Medical Center in Haifa, and Herzliya Medical Center. Some 1,000 other patients are believed to have been operated on by the surgeon at the private hospitals, and will also be called in for tests.

Ichilov Hospital has set up a special hotline at 03-6974058 for questions and coordination of blood tests. The hotline will be open until 8 P.M. The hospital refused on Tuesday to publish the name of the surgeon, in order to protect his personal privacy.

According to the Health Ministry, "The chances that the surgeon infected one of his patients are extremely low. According to international scientific literature as well as the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the chances of infection are between 1 in 40,000 to 1 in 400,000."

"Generally the risk is opposite, and most of the instances involve the patient infecting the surgeon," the ministry added.