Nurse Arrested for Tranquilizing Patients Without Permission

The judge in the case said there was no basis for claim that the alleged acts were based on authority to act for the good of the patients.

The Tel Aviv District Court extended the detention by an additional six days of a nurse from the internal medicine department of Ichilov Hospital who is suspected of injecting patients with tranquilizers without doctors' orders.

The judge in the case, Dorit Reich-Shapiro, noted in her ruling that a hearing on the matter as well as her examination of the investigation file provided reasonable support for the suspicions against the 26-year old accused nurse, Rami Hana. She also said there was no basis for the claim that the alleged acts were based on authority to act for the good of the patients.

The judge also declined a request for a gag order on Hana's identity after a hearing on the issue, saying she had to give greater weight to the public's right to know "particularly in light of the fact that the suspect worked as a nurse at Ichilov...and the well-being and health of the patients were in his hands and [in light of] the major duty of trust required of him."

Hana was arrested Monday, a day after hospital management reported the case to the police, following suspicions by the staff of Hana's department. Police said Hana is suspected of tranquilizing the patients so they wouldn't make a commotion during his shift. The police are accusing him of negligent medical or surgical care and assault on individuals in his care. Hana's attorney, Gilad Katzman, said his client has been employed at the hospital for two years and denies all of the allegations.

Katzman added: "We think this is a case that is not simple and we will have to look further into the authority of a nurse in terms of what is allowed and what is not. We believe it was allowed and that everything was done with authority and in good faith." He added, "Our assumption is that departments at the hospital are in high demand and that things are not always done according to procedure, which is a far cry from a criminal offense."

Ichilov Hospital issued the following statement: "When hospital management received the report, they filed a complaint with the police and the nurse was arrested within a day. It should be noted that despite the fact that administering drugs without a doctor's order is prohibited, to the best that we can ascertain, no injury was caused to any patient. The medical center management is precluded from issuing a response until the end of the police investigation."

At a hearing yesterday, a police representative said the suspicions against Hana involved "several instances." It was also noted that Hana has no prior criminal record. The law enforcement official said Hana did not clearly admit to the allegations attributed to him and made reference to requesting permission from a physician.