Three Israeli Hospitals Refuse Ambulance Drop-offs Due to Overflow

Health Ministry says emergency rooms will be open and seriously ill persons will be admitted.

The Health Ministry instructed Magen David Adom ambulance services not to bring patients to Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon or Haemek Hospital in Afula until Tuesday afternoon. The ministry explained that the hospitals have requested a hiatus from drop-offs, but noted that this does not pertain to the general public.

"Emergency rooms in all hospitals are open and seriously ill persons will also be evacuated to the three hospitals in question," a statement from the Health Ministry read.

Sources at Sheba Medical Center said they will continue to receive persons delivered by Magen David services who had suffered heart attacks, strokes or traumatic injuries.

Some hospitals recently reported that their internal medicine departments are overflowing with patients. Hadassa University Hospital, Mount Scopus announced that it is at 178 percent occupancy, while Hadassa in Ein Kerem and Rambam Medical Center in Haifa claimed 154 percent occupancy.

The average occupancy for hospitals throughout the country is 106 percent - with an average of 698 patients on oxygen support, 432 of whom are out of intensive care.

Senior ministry officials have criticized what they describe as a campaign by Sheba management in recent days, aimed at highlighting the shortage of available space in internal care and emergency service departments.