Israel: Never mind the bleeding, it was cardiac arrest

According to Israeli authorities, 30-year-old Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat died of cardiac arrest five days after being arrested on February 18, 2013. Because of doubts, however, I asked to interview the prison medical examiner who had listed the cause of death. “Of course,” replied the Press Officer, “just be sure to pass through the Israeli Office of Press Censorship when you finish your report.” On this condition I was introduced the the coroner, Selova Proval. Following is the interview.

RIGHT: “Yes, children. Joan of Arc died of cardiac arrest.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Barb Weir: Dr. Proval, how did you determine that cardiac arrest was the cause of death?

Dr. Selova Proval: Because the subject’s heart was no longer beating when he was brought to me. If it had been, he would not have been dead.

Barb Weir: He was a young man and apparently in good health. According to Palestinian medical examiners, there were signs of torture. Some are saying there was internal bleeding. Did you take this into consideration when determining the cause of death?

Dr. Selova Proval: Never mind the bleeding, Ms. Weir, it was cardiac arrest. Torture has never been the cause of death of any prisoner. There have not even been any fatal accidents, only cardiac arrest and occasionally brain death.

Barb Weir: That’s an amazing record, Dr. Proval. Not even cancer or strokes?

Dr. Selova Proval: We’ve had cases of all sorts of illnesses and conditions amongst the prisoners, but the only fatalities have been due to cardiac arrest. In all cases, if the subject’s heart had continued beating, death would not have occurred, the only exception being brain death, and in that case cardiac arrest occurs when we pull the plug.

Barb Weir: Perhaps I’m asking the wrong question, Dr. Proval. What caused the cardiac arrest?

Dr. Selova Proval: Ms. Weir, you’re asking me to speculate. Many things can contribute to cardiac arrest. No heart can function for long without a blood supply, but there was plenty of blood still inside Mr. Jaradat’s body. Excessive electricity running through the body can cause the heart to stop, but I found no unusual electricity in the body when it was brought to me.

Barb Weir: I think I understand. You’re using the term “cardiac arrest” in a very limited and literal sense.

Dr. Selova Proval: How else should I use it, Ms. Weir?

Barb Weir: Never mind. But I can see the potential.

After taking leave of Dr. Proval, I wrote up the interview, put it on my flash drive and went to the Israeli Office of Press Censorship. Upon arrival, I entered through the front door, then left by the back. Having passed through the office, I proceeded to publish the interview.

Author: Barb Weir

Barb Weir is the pseudonym of a writer and social justice advocate in the San Francisco Bay Area.