Israeli brothers poisoned by pesticides released from hospital

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two brothers poisoned after inhaling pesticides in their Jerusalem home were released from the hospital.

Michael Gross, 7, and Yitzhak Gross, 5, were discharged from Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikvah on Monday, three weeks after they were connected to machines that pumped oxygen into their hearts and lungs and throughout their bodies. They had not been given much chance to survive; doctors now believe the boys have not suffered any long-term damage.

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The boys’ sisters – Avigail, 1, and Yael, 4 – died from the poison.

The boys, wearing matching blue striped shirts, walked by themselves out of the hospital, accompanied by their parents, Michal and Shimon Gross.

“Our emotions are running high today and it is hard to digest everything that has happened,” Shimon Gross said in a news conference at the hospital.  “We are going home today with two healthy, whole children, something that is hard to believe and we are grateful that we are here to see this day.  On the other hand, it is hard not to have thoughts of Avigail and Yael.  During this time we have practically not left the hospital but we have felt the enormous love and the influence of the many prayers that have been said for the boys and a tremendous sense of unity. This has given us the strength to continue during this difficult time and we feel that we are part of a very special nation.”

The entire family of six became ill on Jan. 21 and sought medical attention for diarrhea and vomiting, but medical staff failed to diagnose their condition as poisoning. One of the girls stopped breathing the following day; both girls died in a Jerusalem hospital.

The exterminator, who used poison lethal to humans, remains under house arrest. He had left the poison in a closed container in the apartment planning to complete the job the following day.