The Palestinian Authority has finally agreed to transfer to Hadassah-University Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit a four-and-a-half-year-old Bethlehem boy in critical condition, with burns suffered in an accident over a week ago.

Before the boy’s plight was publicized, the PA had wanted to move him to a Jordanian hospital, apparently for political and financial reasons, but doctors at Jerusalem’s Hospital said such a trip could endanger his life.

The boy, Amir Buja, was standing next to his 14-year-old cousin, who was preparing a bonfire to mark the end of the Ramadan fast. The cousin poured paint thinner over the wood, and it exploded in Buja’s face, causing severe burns. He was rushed in critical condition to Bethlehem Hospital, which transferred him to Mokassed, even though it doesn’t have a burns unit.

Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of Hadassah-University Hospital in Ein Kerem, agreed to find a place for him in the pediatric intensive care unit of its new Mother-and-Child Center and reduce the diagnostic-related group charge set by the Health Ministry for burns cases from NIS 100,000 to NIS 60,000.

MK Taleb a-Sanaa appealed to Health Minister Yehoshua Matza, who used the incident to illustrate the problem of the PA’s “takeover” of Mokassed and four other eastern Jerusalem hospitals in recent months. Yesterday, the PA told an intermediary that it would pay NIS 60,000 for the boy’s treatment and Hadassah said it would find a bed for him today or tomorrow.

Mor-Yosef noted that referrals to Hadassah by the Palestinian Authority of patients living in the territories dropped last month by 50%, compared to the same month a year ago. (JP 11th Feb)

Dr R.H.B. Fishman
SCIENCE/COMMUNICATION
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