D.C. in brief

GW doctors save Palestinian teen
Doctors at the GW Hospital performed a life-saving operation last week on a Palestinian boy injured in an Israeli tank shell explosion.

Saleh Al-Hajin is a Gaza teen suffering from an aneurysm after being hit by a shell fragment during an Israeli tank operation last September. He is expected to make a full recovery, after doctors closed the blood leakage in a two-hour surgery performed last Saturday.

Al-Hajin, whose aneurysm was described by GW medical officials as a “time bomb” that could kill him at any time, could not be treated in Gaza. He was brought to GW through the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, which has brought more than 150 Palestinian children to the United States for medical treatment since 1991.

Marti Harris, communications director for the hospital, said GW often provides free medical care to foreigners, and evaluates prospective patients on a case-by-case basis.

“When the opportunity seems right, when we have the technology necessary (for the procedure), then we offer our assistance,” she said.

Harris said the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund paid for Al-Hajin’s trip to the United States and said hospital officials performed the procedure free of charge.

She said the hospital allocates money each year for such procedures, but would not disclose any specific figures.

She also said politics did not play a role in the hospital’s decision to treat Al-Hajin.

“This was a young boy that experienced severe devastation…that’s what we looked at,” she said. “This was not a political issue. This was an issue of helping a young man.”

MPD Chief declares crime ‘crisis’
Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey mandated that MPD officers must be on call 24 hours a day to confront a spike in car thefts, armed robberies and homicides throughout D.C.

Ramsey cited alarming statistics, including a 58 percent increase in homicides in MPD’s seventh district, to temporarily suspend MPD union regulations that allot a certain amount of sick leave to officers, the Washington Post reported.

“I’m very, very concerned about crime in the District,” Ramsey told the Post. “Violence in our city shows signs of approaching levels not seen here for several years.”

Ramsey’s declaration of a crime “crisis” has put him at odds with police union officials, who said the chief is overreacting to an uncharacteristic increase in summer violence.

“In our opinion, an emergency is 9/11, the . . . (International Monetary Fund protests), a dirty bomb. Not 12 shootings in one weekend,” Sgt. Darrick Ross, vice chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Committee for MPD, told the Post.

The rule change prevents officers from calling in sick unless they visit a clinic and get a note from a doctor.

Ramsey told the Post that the change will be temporary, and that he will be reviewing the amended regulations some time in October.

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