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emunah women newborn examsA bill has been submitted to the Knesset by Emunah that would enable parents whose child has just been born and who are still in the hospital to be present while their infants are undergoing medical examination or treatment. This is a right that, unfortunately, does not exist at most of Israel's hospitals.

Immediately after a baby is born, and throughout the newborn's hospital stay, he or she undergoes medical treatments of various kinds, examinations in which all external body parts are checked, as well as auscultation and palpation of the internal organs. At most Israeli hospitals parents are forbidden to be present while these examinations are being conducted on their children. The examinations are conducted without the presence of either of the newborn's parents.

This situation is untenable and needs to be rectified without delay (as has already happened at several Israeli hospitals), to ensure that all newborns' rights are meticulously safeguarded while they are undergoing medical treatment. This right of newborns is no less legitimate than the rights of adults. In fact it has an even greater claim to being safeguarded, due to the infant's helplessness, which makes it even more imperative that one of the parents be at his side. Beyond that, the parent's presence during medical care makes it possible for the parent to find out what is happening, ask questions, and obtain information from the neonatologist about the health status of the child, in "real time."

Current Israeli law states that all patients have the right to be accompanied by a person "of their choice." But in this case, what is self-evident needs to be stated explicitly: patients who are newborns cannot exercise their right and state that they want their parents at their side while being examined, and they certainly are not in a position to choose the people who will accompany them! The existing law thus violates the rights of newborns to accompaniment, and should be amended accordingly. Newborns' right to have their "companions," be it their parents or those representing their parents (rather than nurses/physicians, etc.) will be upheld only when it is clearly stated in the text of the law.

The bill submitted by Emunah on this issue via MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) seeks to ensure that when newborns undergo medical treatment, they are accompanied by one of their parents or by someone representing their parents – as a matter of routine.



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