The health condition of sick and wounded prisoners in Israeli jails is one of the most pressing and critical issues that require immediate attention in light of the severe and agonizing conditions in which Palestinian prisoners are living. Prisoners have to endure deliberate medical negligence and lack of medical supplies.
Since 1967, 52 prisoners have died as a result of medical neglect. The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has adopted a systematic policy of medical negligence in prisons and detention centers housing Palestinian detainees. Long delays in providing substandard medical treatment are typical. Although all prisons include a medical clinic, physicians are on duty irregularly and specialized medical healthcare is generally unavailable. Prisoners are not treated outside the assigned clinic hours and typically must wait for long periods of time before being examined. Once they are examined, however, most prisoners are often prescribed painkillers without any thorough medical follow-up. Transfers to hospitals for needed treatment may take place only after weeks or months.
Many sick and injured prisoners are in need of surgeries and intensive health care. Some of the prisoners are encumbered with serious diseases such as cancer, heart and lung diseases, kidney and spinal diseases. In addition, there are among Palestinian prisoners numerous cases of neurosis and psychological disorders. Moreover, some prisoners are paraplegic or have amputated arms or feet.
Detention conditions have a huge impact on the health of prisoners and detainees. As a result of their imprisonment, released detainees often face chronic health problems such as skin diseases, extreme fatigue, anemia and weakness, kidney problems, rheumatism, dental problems and ulcers.
There are currently around 180 prisoners with chronic diseases, including 25 who have been diagnosed with cancer, and 1000 prisoners suffering from different sicknesses. In several cases, prisoners died in detention or soon after their release due to medical negligence, including two last year alone, namely Maysara Abu Hamdieh and Hassan Turabi.