Daily Israel Report

Doctor Partially to Blame in Hiker’s Death

Court finds IDF doctor failed in his care for injured hiker.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/31/2013, 12:51 PM

Helicopter (illustrative)
Helicopter (illustrative)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court has ruled that a doctor working with an elite IDF unit made mistakes in his treatment of an injured hiker which played a part in her death, Yediot Aharonot reports.

The case in question was brought by the family of Mali Reichman, who died in April 2005 following a fall during a hike with her husband and their 13-year-old son.

Reichman slipped from a narrow path and fell during a hike in the Golan region. Her husband reached the point where she had fallen and found her conscious and suffering from pain in her legs.

Fearing that she had suffered broken bones in her legs and hips, he called a friend on the Unit 669 rescue team, who called for a helicopter to perform a medical evacuation.

During the evacuation, the doctor working with the unit decided that Mali’s condition was deteriorating, and that further care should be given prior to evacuation in order to stabilize her condition. He provided emergency care at the scene for roughly one hour, after which Reichman was evacuated in serious condition.

By the time they reached the hospital, her condition was critical. She passed away several hours later, after undergoing surgery.

Attorney Yael Peleg, representing the Reichman family, argued that the doctor who had responded with Unit 669 was an orthopedic resident with no experience treating people with traumatic injuries in the field. The doctor’s decision to perform treatment in the field instead of evacuating Reichman to the Ziv Hospital in Tzfat - a five-minute ride away - was unnecessary and led to the deterioration of her medical situation, she argued.

Among the specific complaints regarding the doctor’s care was an allegation that he improperly inserted a medical drain into Reichman’s chest. The drain, which he used due to concern over possible internal bleeding, was inserted in the wrong location and caused a hole in the diaphragm and bleeding in the liver.

Justice Zahava Agi also found the Nature and Parks Authority liable for failing to clearly mark the trail on which the family had been hiking. The state and the Nature and Parks Authority were ordered to pay the Reichman family 810,000 shekels compensation.