Yerushalmi Boy at Center of Controversy Recovering; What Really Happened Remains Unclear

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protest6The three-and-a-half-year-old Yerushalmi boy whose mother has been accused of neglecting and starving him until he weighed only 7 kilos – the weight of a five-month-old baby – has gained 20 percent of his weight since nearly two weeks ago, when the mother was arrested.  “Physically, he is on the right track,” said Dr. Yair Birnbaum, deputy director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization.

The Hadassah administrator explained that the boy, from Meah Shearim, was likely to recover physically with good care, but it was not certain what his traumatic experience would do to him mentally and psychologically.

He is being fed orally and by gastric tubes, enabling him to gain 1.7 kilos since entering Hadassah-University Medical Center at Ein Kerem.

The father, who has three other children, has visited the boy.

Birnbaum said yesterday that the boy had learned how to walk, but that the starvation had made it difficult for him to move beyond lying in bed.

The claims are that before her arrest, the mother had been detaching his feeding tube in the pediatric ward.

As we reported yesterday, it is not clear who is telling the absolute truth here, as members of the Toldos Aharon community, to whom the family belongs, have vouched for the mother’s integrity. The doctors, according to reports, claim that the mother suffers from Munchausen’s-by-proxy, a rare syndrome that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker.  In this mental illness, an individual – usually a mother – deliberately makes another person – usually her or his own preschool child – sick or convinces others that the person is sick. The parent or caregiver misleads others into thinking that the child has medical problems by lying and reporting fictitious episodes.

People who know the family are saying that the charges and allegations are trumped up after a series of events that followed a misdiagnosis of the child’s condition. The toddler had originally been hospitalized several times at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Har Hatzofim.       

According to reports, the child was said by the doctors to have cancer and actually underwent chemotheraphy. However, after repeated tests, consultations and assessment, the hospital doctors reached the conclusion that it was not cancer, an immunological problem or any other physical illness that had caused him to “fail to thrive.”

“Before filing a complaint to the social welfare services, we had to have proof,” Birnbaum said, adding that “perhaps we could have reached the conclusion a week or so earlier. But abuse is a very complicated phenomenon to recognize and demonstrate.”

Meanwhile, Rabbi Shmuel Poppenheim, spokesman of the Eida Hachareidis, said yesterday that the child had been given chemotherapy treatment for nearly a year during his hospitalization at Hadassah, due to concerns that he was suffering from cancer. Hadassah spokeswoman Yael Bossem Levy categorically rejected the claim.

So, as the protests continue, the truth remains unclear. The secular media in Israel and on the Web have jumped on the opportunity to paint chareidim in general as uncaring and irresponsible, with blaring headlines about how a chareidi mother starved her child by pulling detaching his feeding tube. Little, if any, mention is made of the uncertainty of the charges and the fact that there may be another side to the story here that hasn’t emerged. 

{Yair Alpert/Matzav.com Newscenter}

4 COMMENTS

  1. WHAT HAPPENED IS CLEAR THERE A BUNCH OF ANTI FRUM BLOOD THIRSTY TZIYOINIM WHO ARE APIKORSIM ALSO. IF YOU KNOW WHAT A REAL ZIONIST MEANS ITS TOTAL KFIRA THEY THINK THEY ARE THE HISCHALTA DIGEULA “THE BEGINING OF REDEMTION” BEING THAT THEY CONQUERED THE LAND YET THEY ARENT FRUM THAT MEANS THEY BELEIVE THAT AFTER MOSHIACH THEY WORLD WONT BE FRUM

    YA SURE TIPSHIM SHOITIM APIKORSIM

  2. whether or not the woman is a religious jew, the fact of the matter is that her child is dying because of actions that she has done. if the hospital says that the child never recieved chemotherapy there, then that means THE CHILD NEVER RECIEVED CHEMOTHERAPY THERE! bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what faith someone practices or what religion they belong to. if an individual is harming their own child, then that individual has lost the right to care for that child any longer. open your eyes and see the truth. a child’s life is more important than anything else, so our obligation as human beings is to protect that child from harm, no questions asked.

  3. Baruch HaShem the child is recovering. The situation – whatever it was – was caught before it resulted in irreversible harm to the child.

    If the mother is indeed ill, it is chasdei HaShem that she was stopped in time, rather than face the tragedy of having caused her own child’s death.

    If the mother is not ill, then she will be vindicated in time, and will have the option of suing those who accused her unjustly.

    The important thing is that the child is recovering.

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