Prof. Israeli harshly criticizes the world of medicine

Prof. Israeli harshly criticizes the world of medicine

The publication of opinion articles by Israeli doctors in professional magazines in the world is not a routine event, especially in the days of the current war. Prof. Alon Hershko of Hadassah, a member of the board of the Israeli Association for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, received an opportunity to publish an opinion piece in the Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology magazine, which has wide exposure in the world, among doctors and researchers.

At the beginning of the article, Prof. Hershko describes the war as follows: The war began on October 7, 2023. Southern Israel was invaded by terrorists from the terrorist organization Hamas. They massacred more than 1400 people, took 240 hostages and committed serious crimes, such as: torturing civilians, sexual violence and burning people alive. The difficult events led to a full-scale war and a military flare-up also in the north of the State of Israel, the Galilee region and southern Lebanon. This is a terrible tragedy, which may continue for a long time and a severe trauma for large populations.

The community of doctors and scientists of allergy and immunology in Israel was also harmed. The scope of clinical trials dropped rapidly, laboratory activities were greatly reduced. Young researchers were recruited for reserve service in the army, academic activity was also affected, especially in the south of Israel, near the border with Gaza, since medical students, medical staff members and faculty members at the academy were killed or kidnapped in the terrorist attack on October 7. The academic institutions postponed the start of the academic school year and many of the researchers and postdoctoral doctors hurried to leave Israel, among other things because among the hostages, who were taken to Gaza, quite a few had foreign citizenships, a fact that harmed the security of the foreigners who stayed in the country at the beginning of the war.

And in general, Prof. Hershko points out, the Israeli health system was severely damaged in the war, due to a lack of manpower and a large number of casualties, also in terms of the ongoing medical treatment of the population.

The article also refers to the problem of the displaced Israelis: 130,000 residents in the country who were displaced from their homes – in the south of the country and in the north, and the fact that their evacuation from their homes poses a challenge in how to continue to provide them with a continuous, ongoing and necessary medical response.

Prof. Hershko describes the voluntary mobilization of the members of the Israeli Association for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, who opened mobile clinics in the areas where residents were evacuated, and provided basic daily medical services, such as: allergy counseling, challenge tests, medication prescriptions and other ongoing medical monitoring.
Another interesting detail he mentioned is the fact that the union's annual conference was held in December 2023 in central Tel Aviv, at a time when there was a Hamas rocket attack on Tel Aviv.

In the article, he claims that it is still too early to determine the impact of the war on the general state of health in Israel, although the consequences of the post-trauma phenomenon on the physical and mental state of the population are beginning to be revealed, and it is clear that burnout and emotional stress will have serious ramifications, including in the field of aggravating diseases of the immune system.

Termination of medical treatment in Israeli hospitals for patients from Gaza:

Another topic that Hershko describes in the article is the joint and professional work of Jews and Arabs in the Israeli health system. This is how he describes it: “Our allergy and clinical immunology unit at Hadassah Hospital serves the residents of Jerusalem, with a population of which two-thirds are Jewish and one-third Arab. In joint work based on medical ethics, solidarity and mutual respect, we are a team of Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, cooperating and treating all types of patients harmoniously. However, one of the unfortunate results of the war is the cessation of the medical services provided in our hospital and in other hospitals to patients from the Gaza Strip.”

Until the war, explains Prof. Hershko, entry permits to Israel were given to residents of Gaza who needed medical treatment. He explains that a high rate of consanguineous marriages in Gaza leads to a high incidence of primary immunodeficiency in Gaza, and that every year the Israeli hospitals treated hundreds of Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip due to this problem.

The article also mentions the excellence of Israeli allergy medicine and clinical immunology and the medical scientific collaborations with international entities over the years.

Prof. Hershko criticizes the world of international medicine

Prof. Hershko acknowledges support for doctors in Israel from colleagues abroad, after the October 7 attack, and at the same time, mentions with disappointment that in some cases medical organizations and colleagues avoided expressing clear and visible support for Israel, under the pretext that it would sound like a political statement.

He also criticizes in the article the shocking and too little support received from colleagues in the medical world, regarding the demand to insert an epiphane syringe into a young boy, who was kidnapped to Gaza and suffers from a severe allergy to peanuts (Yigil Ya'akov, who has since been released from captivity).
Also, expresses anger that all the abductees from Israel, from the age of 9 months to 86, do not receive basic medical care in captivity, do not receive medicines and accessories they need, such as asthma inhalers, and do not receive visits from representatives of any international medical organization whatsoever.

At the end of the article, Prof. Hershko calls on the medical community in the world to adhere to codes of ethics and morality, fight terrorism and maintain faith in humanity.

Prof. Hershko.  Photo: 18"C
Prof. Hershko. Photo: PR

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