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Death of a toddler delayed at a checkpoint en route to the hospital: the case of RS
13088/99 | documents: 1  |  Updates: 0 On September 28, 1996, the day of western wall tunnel incident, RS from Beit Ula discovered that his 18 month old son was running a high fever. The infant was diagnosed with blood cancer a month before, and had started receiving a course of chemotherapy at the Ein Karem Hadassah University Hospital. When the infant was released from  hospital after another treatment session, the medical staff instructed his father to bring the child to the hospital immediately, if he developed a fever.

RS and his wife hurried with their child to the Alia Hospital in Hebron, hoping to find an ambulance to drive them to the Hadassah Hospital, but due to the events of that day, none was found. The family returned to their home, hoping to get a car with a yellow (i.e. Israeli) license plate, which can pass through checkpoints without any problem. When they found a suitable car and a driver with Israeli residency, they set off to the Tarqumiya checkpoint en route to the hospital.

RS showed to the soldiers manning the checkpoint his child's medical documents proving his condition, and insisted that they approach the car and see that his son was very pale and breathing fast, with a damp cloth on his forehead. But still, the soldiers refused to let them pass, stating that that a general closure had been imposed on the West Bank. After an hour's wait, an officer allowed RS's wife to travel with the infant to the hospital. Because his wife did not speak Hebrew, and had never traveled to Jerusalem alone, RS was afraid she would not manage by herself, and so he begged the officer to allow him to come along, but to no avail. The officer also insisted on searching the car, although it had already been searched by the soldiers at the checkpoint. Two hours after it arrived at the checkpoint, the car drove on to the hospital. Ten minutes away from the hospital, the child stopped breathing. Resuscitation efforts at the Hadassah pediatric ward failed, and the infant died.

In the days following his death, civil administration officers phoned RS to apologize and informed him that the incident would be investigated. He never heard from them again. In November 1996, HaMoked appealed to the military prosecutor for the Central Command, demanding an investigation of the incident, and disclosure of its findings to HaMoked upon completion. In response, it was stated that the file had been sent for further investigation to the Military Police Investigations Unit (MIU). In August 1997, the prosecutor in charge of the case announced the decision to close the case without any legal action being taken; he claimed that the soldiers at the checkpoint had not been aware of the severity of the child's condition and had been following the orders. In August 1999, HaMoked filed on behalf RS a civil claim against the state over the case.

In May 2004, a settlement agreement was reached, whereby, the family received damages in the sum of NIS 24,000 in exchange for a full release of all present and future claims.

CC (Jerusalem) 13088/99 - Sarahin et al. v. The State of Israel Statement of Claim
Complaint  |  13088/99  |  1.8.1999 (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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