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Report: Gaza Patient Dies at Crossing on Way to Israeli Hospital

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GAZA, February 27, 2013 (WAFA) - A diabetic patient, 41 years old, infected with H1N1 virus and in critical condition, died in the security area inside Erez terminal between the Gaza Strip and Israel minutes after he was placed in an Israeli ambulance, a report by the World Health Organization’s office in the occupied Palestinian territories said Wednesday.

The report on monthly referral of Gaza Strip patients to get medical treatment outside the besieged Strip said the patient was on route to a hospital in Israel when he died at the crossing. Resuscitation efforts by both Palestinian and Israeli ambulance crews were unsuccessful, it said.

Palestinian ambulances are not permitted to leave Gaza with patients and therefore patients must be transferred from the Palestinian ambulance, and carried on a gurney to an Israeli ambulance at Erez crossing some distance away.

The report said that applications were submitted for 796 patients to the Israeli District Liaison Office (DCL) in January for permits to cross Erez and access hospitals in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, in Israel or Jordan.

Of the total, 738 (92.7%) received permits to cross Erez and two were denied. The two denied patients were a 33-year-old man with cancer who was approved later after submitting a detailed medical report and a 27-year-old woman with a kidney stone who is still denied. Both were referred to a hospital in Hebron in the West Bank.

According to the report, 56 patients (21 females and 35 males, 7% of the total applicants) did not receive a response and therefore lost their appointments in the hospitals; nine of them were children under 18 years, seven were over 60 years, and 11 were oncology- hematology patients.

The waiting time for response should be in a maximum of 10 days but 9 applicants did not receive a response after two weeks and 12 did not receive a response after 30 days.

Of the 56 delayed patients, 15 had had appointments in Israeli hospitals, one had an appointment in a Jordanian hospital and the rest in West Bank including in East Jerusalem.

The report said 12 patients (three females and five males) were called for interrogation by Israeli General Security Services (GSS) as a condition to process their application, fewer than the previous month when 37 patients who applied for permits were called for GSS interviews.

Two out of the 12 patients interrogated were granted permits while the rest did not receive responses.

Most January referrals were for treatment in oncology (16.5%), nuclear medicine (10%), urology (8%), pediatrics (7%), orthopedics (6%), ophthalmology (6%), hematology (5.5%), heart surgery (5%), heart catheterization (5%) and neurosurgery (5%).

M.S.

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