An article by Daniel Williams ("Israeli Doctors and Arabs: Politics, Ethics in Collision," Part I, Jan. 23) paints a distorted picture of the availability of health care for Palestinian Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Allegations that Hadassah discriminates against any patient, under any circumstances, are totally without foundation. Since 1913 Hadassah has provided health care of the very highest quality to all who come to us in need--Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze--regardless of their ethnic origin, religious and political beliefs or ability to pay. Throughout eight decades, as the Hadassah Medical Organization has grown to become Israel's largest and finest health-care complex, that policy has remained unchanged.
Arab doctors in Judea, Samaria and Gaza continue to refer patients to Hadassah facilities despite the unrest in the territories, as they have done since the hospitals first opened their doors.
For the past 20 years, Hadassah has been working to upgrade health care in the territories by providing advanced professional training for Arab doctors and nurses. At present, 85 doctors from Judea and Samaria and 11 nurses from Gaza are participating in these programs. In addition, Palestinian Arabs are well represented among graduates of Hadassah's international master's degree program in public health and community medicine.
It is true that the conflict in the territories has had an impact on health care for Palestinian Arabs. Like all Israelis, residents of the territories contribute from their salaries to a fund for their medical needs. As Arab unrest has taken its toll on earnings, less money has been available to pay for medical treatment.
However, under an agreement between Hadassah and the civil administration of Judea and Samaria, Hadassah will be reimbursed for the care of any patient who is certified as being "in immediate risk of life or limb" on admission. In other cases, the cost of treating patients who cannot afford to pay is absorbed by Hadassah. Despite economic obstacles and the continuing conflict between Palestinian and Israeli, Hadassah remains committed to caring for all who come to us for help, without regard to race, creed or economic circumstances.
Southern Pacific Coast Region