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Bad medicine

Prominent doctors used elderly patients for medical experimentation

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 by: Jerome Douglas
Tags: bad medicine, human experimentation, medical experiments

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(NewsTarget) Four prominent doctors at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot and the Hartzfeld Geriatric Hospital in Gedera -- both located in Israel -- were arrested this week on suspicion of using elderly patients as the subjects of hundreds of illegal experiments.

The four doctors are suspected of wrongful death through negligence, abuse of helpless victims, aggravated assault, fraud, violation of a statutory obligation and interference in an investigation.

A report from the Health Ministry concluded that that the doctors violated the law by experimenting on patients who did not provide consent or were mentally incapable of providing consent.

In addition, some of the experiments had no medical or scientific benefit. Further, some of the alleged experiments were conducted on patients without consent -- even though some senior doctors at both hospitals warned the accused that the experiments being conducted were illegal and unethical.

The report exposing the alleged experiments -- which was released by a Health Ministry inquiry committee -- revealed that illegal and unethical experiments were conducted over several years in a systematic manner on thousands of elderly patients.

The report also revealed the fact that 12 patients died either during or shortly after one of the experiments. However, the incident was not reported to the Health Ministry or investigated, which is a direct violation of Israeli law.

One of the doctors was released, a second was put under house arrest, and the final two doctors were given an extensional remand for three days as a result of the arrests. Police performed searches of all four suspects and confiscated documents from their homes.

As a result of the experiments, at least four doctors became known as geriatrics experts, a label given to each on the basis of research based on the alleged experiments. Some of the doctors also submitted articles to medical journals in Israel and abroad on the basis of the experiments.

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