Last update - 10:52 04/04/2007
IDF soldier with cancer denied medical treatment, sent to jail
By Haaretz Service
An Israel Defense Forces soldier suffering from testicular cancer was denied medical treatment and was sent to a military prison before finally being admitted to hospital, Israel Radio reported on Wednesday.
The soldier, who is now undergoing radiology treatment for his illness, suffered severe pain during his basic training but was repeatedly refused thorough medical examinations by his superiors and by army doctors.
The soldier sought help from the boot camp doctor after his testicles had become swollen and he suffered from acute pain. The doctor, however, sent him back to serve, telling him he was entirely fit and that he might suffer from a reaction to bad food he may have eaten. The soldier was not even offered a physiological examination by the doctor.
The affair took a radical turn three months into his basic training, after the soldier's commander refused to release him to a scheduled doctor's appointment. According to the radio, the officer yelled at the soldier to return back to his company in ten seconds, but he refused to leave the office. The soldier insisted on remaining in the office after his superior imposed yet harsher penalties on him, telling him he would not be allowed to complete his basic training.
In his despair, the soldier left his superior's office indignant only to return with his rifle several minutes later, threatening the officer with the weapon in order to be allowed to undergo thorough medical checkups.
At the trial, the soldier's attorney did not bring the fact that his client's behavior stemmed from his deteriorated health and the pain he was in to the court's attention.
The court sentenced the soldier to ten months in an army prison, where the jail doctor declared him fit to serve his term. In prison, the soldier's condition continued to worsen.
The much longed-for help finally came after another doctor in prison referred the soldier to ultrasound examinations at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, diagnosing him with hydrocele. At the hospital, doctors immediately identified a malignant tumor in his testicles and sent him for a partial orchiectomy.
Being still a prisoner, the army assigned a watch on the soldier's hospital room during his treatment, and he is still under watch.
The soldier's mother told Israel Radio that she was "shocked, how a soldier is sent to prison and a doctor examines him and declares him fit to serve his term."
"He told me he was in pain, but what can I, his mother, do in the face of the military establishment?" she said.
The IDF said in response that the soldier had not complained of pain or swollen testicles, and that he was sentenced to ten months for illegal use of his weapon. Once his condition became clear, the army said, a recommendation was issued beyond the letter of the law to shorten his jail term.