The Health Ministry suspended for at least six months the license of Prof. Shimon Slavin, the much-celebratad former head of bone-marrow transplantation at Hadassah University Medical Center, who retired in 2007 and set up a private clinic in Tel Aviv.
Slavin, who had been praised for saving the lives of many cancer patients at the Jerusalem medical center and now receives patients from around Israel and the world, told The Jerusalem Post by phone from London on Sunday that he was being “persecuted” by the ministry.
“They are spreading lies. They are ignoramuses. They have made statements out of context,” said Slavin.
The ministry issued an unusual 12-page statement suspecting Slavin of “serious medical negligence causing the death” of two patients – a woman with incurable progressive multiple sclerosis and a teenager with severe Crohn’s diseases. His medical license would be suspended for six months “as an intermediate step,” the document said.
According to the statement, Slavin performed treatments on the woman and the teenager “without [first] consulting” a neurologist or gastroenterologist about the repercussions of treating them.
Slavin’s techniques included giving mysenchymal stromal stem cells in his clinic to the two patients, who died in the US “a few years after he treated them,” he maintained.
“They may as well cancel my license permanently. I am considering not continuing to work in Israel because I don’t want to work in a country with a ministry and officials like these,” said Slavin, who was in London for a medical conference.
The ministry decision was taken following recommendations by a committee of doctors.
Last year, the ministry ordered the closure of the International Center for Cellular Medicine and Cancer Immunotherapy, a private medical institution in Tel Aviv’s Palace Tower run by Slavin. The ministry’s Tel Aviv District health officer, Dr.
Rivka Sheffer, wrote to Slavin with copies to the Israel Police, the ministry’s director-general, its legal adviser and other officials, that what was going on in Slavin’s clinic “was not for the good of the health of patients there.”
Sheffer reported that, from March to December 2015, seven patients who had undergone special bone-marrow transplants for cancer at his clinic had suffered complications, some of them life threatening.
Slavin told the Post that a few years ago, he was “justified” in doing his treatments on other patients by the High Court of Justice, who said there were no limitations regarding getting permission from the Helsinki Committee on Human Medical Experimentation for providing treatments in a clinic.
The woman in question, a nurse from the US suffering from an incurable case of MS, died there from a heart complication more than two years after being treated by Slavin.
Meanwhile, Slavin said the girl’s gastroenterological condition “did not react to any treatment.
She weighed only 19 kilos and was in terminal condition.
As a compassionate treatment, I gave her stem cells that had been tried successfully in 500 patients and without any side effects.” She died two years later, he said.