Pepper Spray Attacks Highlight Violence at Health Clinics

A 46-year-old man was arrested in Haifa after attacking a security guard and spraying pepper spray in a crowded Kupat Holim clinic.

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Cynthia Blank,

An Israeli health fund clinic
An Israeli health fund clinic
Courtesy

A 46-year-old Haifa resident was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of attacking a security guard and spraying pepper spray around a local Kupat Holim (health clinic) branch. As a result of the incident, six patients suffered eye burning sensations from the spray, which does not usually cause permanent damage but does induce severe discomfort. 
 
An initial investigation indicates that the motivation for the incident was the suspect's dissatisfaction with his treatment at the clinic. Police have stated that the investigation is continuing, in an attempt to clarify the circumstances leading up to the event. 
 
The incident comes only a day after another gas spraying attack. On Wednesday, a 40-year-old suspect sprayed an unknown substance in a health clinic in Hadera. 

The suspect in Hadera also seems to have sprayed the material because he was not satisfied with the treatment he received there. Police immediately began searching for the suspect, who fled the scene. 

As a result of that incident, one person suffered minor injuries, and five others needed medical attention. 

The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) announced in January 2014 that hospitals would operate on an emergency basis only, in protest of the increased violence against medical staff occurring at that time.

IMA chairman, Dr. Leonid Eidelman, said then that "Whoever assaults a doctor is essentially assaulting all other patients. A physician who has been attacked cannot function, not the moment after and not months later."








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