Reported improvement in condition of Army vet, one year after self-immolation

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A former soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder hospitalized since setting himself on fire last April in protest has seen his condition improve, Channel 12 reported on Monday.

Itzik Saidyan set himself on fire to protest alleged negligence by authorities in a case that has prompted a nationwide judgment on veterans’ care.

The report said Saidyan was transferred from the burns unit to the rehabilitation unit at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, where he was hospitalized. However, the report said his condition was still “complicated”.

Saidyan’s condition has improved significantly in recent months. In January, he stepped outside for the first time in a wheelchair, and the hospital also released a recording of him thanking medical staff in honor of Israel’s National Doctors’ Day, the first time that has been heard publicly since the self-immolation.

Saidyan was brought out of a coma in September and had started breathing on his own months before.

Saidyan set himself on fire outside the Petah Tikva offices of the Disabled Soldiers Rehabilitation Department, after struggling for years to receive the treatment he sought for post-traumatic stress disorder, which he says , stemmed from his service in the Israeli army.

His self-immolation has come under scrutiny from the Department of Defense’s treatment of wounded veterans.

Protesters hold signs reading ‘We are all Itzik Saidyan’, outside the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitation department in Petah Tikva on April 14, 2021. (Flash90)

According to the Association of IDF Veterans, Saidyan was frustrated with his treatment by the authorities. He was recognized by the Ministry of Defense as having a 25% disability due to his post-traumatic stress disorder, but had applied for 50% recognition. The ministry had refused, saying that at least part of his condition was due to childhood trauma, not his military service.

Saidyan served in the Golani Infantry Brigade during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. He took part in the fighting in Shejaiya, a neighborhood in Gaza City that saw some of the most violent clashes in the conflict.

Veterans and their advocates have long decried the rehab service as providing woefully inadequate care and subjecting applicants to such a convoluted and winding bureaucracy that many have had to hire expensive lawyers to help them navigate the system.

After Saidyan’s self-immolation and the outcry that accompanied it, the Ministry of Defense sought to implement reforms it had been contemplating for years, but lacked the political will to see through. good.

In May, the government announced that it had reached a compromise on a Defense Ministry plan to reform the treatment of injured veterans.

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