In spite of doctor’s recommendation: three year old cancer patient without electricity

Enass al-Atrash. (Photo: Bustan LaShalom)

Following the state’s refusal to connect her family’s home to the power grid, it is impossible to air condition the home of a three year old cancer patient – this leads to an unhygienic environment, which can cause further and fatal illnesses to the child. The family must keep her injections in a vessel which is refilled daily with ice. The father, a pediatrician who treats dozens of children each day stands astounded while the state turns its back on his sick child.

Three year old Enass Al Atrash was diagnosed several months ago with cancerous growths in her chest and since then has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Soroka hospital. Her physician decreed that the girl’s home must be air-conditioned so that the environment remain hygienic especially now in the hot summer days. This environment is meant to protect her from becoming ill with other diseases that might be fatal in her current state. In addition, Enass must receive injections to improve her immune system- these shots must be kept refrigerated; the family keeps them in a vessel which they must refill daily with ice.

The family’s home is located in an unrecognized Negev village, and like the other houses there is not connected to the power lines. The home receives only two hours of electricity each day, which is supplied by a generator jointly owned by several families. As a result, Enass is regularly rushed to the hospital because her body temperature becomes dangerously high.

About three months ago the family asked the national Power Company that it connect their home to the power lines as an exceptional step. In a conversation between a representative of the Power Company and Dr. Yousef al-Atrash, the girl’s father, it was explained that the company would not connect the house without proper clearances from the authorities. It should be noted that the main power lines that the family wishes to connect to are located just a few hundred meters from the house. The suffering of the girl and her family because of the disease would be more than enough for most, but the state comes and adds on something else: cold heartedness. Clearances for this connection are simply not given.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, working in the family’s name, began correspondences with all the relevant authorities: Interior Ministry, National Infrastructure Ministry, Health Ministry and various members of Knesset, demanding that be immediately connected to the power lines, or, at the least, that a temporary solution be found.

Enass is no different than any other child in Israel. As all children she has the right to be treated equally by the state as a child in need of protection, especially in times of need such as when dealing with cancer. In choosing to prefer planning considerations over the life of a child with cancer the state is not only violating rights but is acting in a callous manner.

Related Links

  • Failure to connect home of Palestinian child diagnosed with cancer to electricity may result in risk to her life, ACRI/PHR (25 August 2005)
  • BY TOPIC: Health
  • Physicians for Human Rights - Israel