Senior plastic surgeon kills himself in Soroka operating room

A top plastic surgeon in one of Israel’s largest hospitals committed suicide inside an operating room on Tuesday.

Alex Barazovsky was the head of the Soroka Medical Center’s plastic surgery department and its breast restoration unit.

He hanged himself in one of his department’s operating rooms shortly after completing his final scheduled surgery for the day. He left behind a detailed note that blamed the Israel Medical Association for his decision to end his life.

Barazovsky was in an ongoing feud with the professional association’s scientific council over its reported demand that another physician be appointed to oversee his department’s adherence to its stringent guidelines for intern training.

Barazovsky and the IMA scientific council had a disagreement recently that led the council to deny him the right to train more interns. In the note he said he found it difficult to handle the pressures of his surgery schedule alongside the requirement to train interns.

Barazovsky was a noted physician, author of numerous scientific papers and a member of the acceptance board for Ben Gurion University’s medical school, where he also taught. He studied medicine at the National University of Uzbekistan in Tashkent, then specialized in plastic surgery at Soroka and studied further in Nottingham, England.

The IMA issued a statement Wednesday expressing “deep shock and great sadness” at Barazovsky’s death and sending its “condolences to the family.”

In its own statement, Soroka said the hospital and its employees were “stunned and pained by the untimely death of Dr. Alex Barazovsky. We share in the family’s deep sadness, and embrace the department staff. We appreciated Dr. Barazovsky as a physician and as a person, and his care for the patients of the Negev. The hospital’s management will offer assistance to the family and to our staff as needed.”

Meir Cohen, chair of the Israel Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery, said, “We wish to send our warm embrace to the family and share in their profound sadness over this terrible and untimely loss.” Barazovsky “was a great person, a devoted department head and physician.”

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