Rav Elyashiv to Litzman: What You are Doing is a Kiddush Hashem


litman-rav-elyashivDeputy Health Minister MK Rabbi Yaakov Liztman paid a visit to Maran Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv last night to report to him on the ongoing saga regarding the determination of death in Israeli hospitals.

The visit came several weeks after Rabbi Litzman took up the cause of Tamar Kahanovitz a”h, a young girl who was classified as brain dead at Schneider Children’s Hospital, where doctors refused to continue providing medical treatment, even though her heart was still beating regularly.

The staff members’ intransigence stood in stark contrast to the law, which obligates physicians to notify family members regarding the patient’s condition, and as long as the heart continues to beat, they are required to consider the patient fully alive and honor the family’s wishes.

Rabbi Litzman paid several visits to the medical center to clarify to the hospital administration and staff the Health Ministry’s stance on the issue – which conforms with the halacha – that a patient can be pronounced dead only when the heart stops beating.

During their meeting, Rabbi Litzman showed Rav Elyashiv a letter from the Health Minsitry that states that a patient’s family had the right to determine death as being only after the heart ceases to beat and that the family members can thus require a hospital to continue providing medical treatment.

Rabbi Litzman related that he has gotten much flack for his stance amongst many in the secular medical community, though it is 100% in accordance with the law.

Rav Elyashiv praised Rabbi Litzman for his firm stance and said that what he is doing is a “Kiddush Hashem.”

Rav Elyashiv was interested in the details of the case of Tamar Kahanovitz, who passed away last Friday. Deputy Minister Litzman told Rav Elyashiv that Tamar continued to live about two weeks after doctors declared her as being dead after brain activity stopped.  

Rav Elyashiv wished Rabbi Litzman continued hatzlacha in his activities.

 {Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}