Suit: Jerusalem Hospital's Refusal to Admit Palestinian May Have Caused Death

Suit states MDA paramedic spent 20 minutes pleading with the guards to let stabbing victim in, but was turned away.

A Palestinian taken by ambulance to a Jerusalem hospital was denied entry by hospital security, which may have been a factor in his death, according to a suit filed last week in the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court.

The man died en route to another hospital.

The incident occurred in 2006. The man, Mohammed Hanafsa, 28, a resident of Abu Dis, had been stabbed in the chest during a brawl. The Palestinian ambulance that came to treat him decided to take him to Hadassah University Hospital because of the severity of his wounds, and contacted Magen David Adom, the suit stated. A MDA paramedic joined the ambulance crew at a roadblock.

Palestinian ambulances generally are not allowed to enter Israel. Instead, patients from the West Bank are transferred to MDA ambulances. In this case, however, because of the severity of Hanafsa's injuries, the Israel Defense Forces allowed the Palestinian ambulance to enter Jerusalem.

Hanafsa reportedly lost consciousness at that point. The vehicle was allowed to pass through the outer gate of Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus, after the paramedics explained the circumstances.

When it reached the inner gate, however, the guards would not let it go any further. The MDA paramedic spent 20 minutes pleading with the guards, and offered that they search the ambulance, but it was ultimately turned away, the suit stated.

The ambulance then left for Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. Hanafsa died en route.

According to a medical opinion attached to the suit, there was a reasonable chance that Hanafsa's life could have been saved had he received proper medical treatment.

A spokesman for the hospital said this week that it had not yet received the complaint, and would respond afterward.

Hanafsa's father said his son's murderer was a cousin of former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia.