Like students all over the world, the medical students at one of Israel's leading teaching hospitals in Jerusalem look forward to their coffee breaks. Time to read a paper maybe or grab something to eat before the next lecture, or simply sit and chat with friends.
However, since the cafeteria was moved to a temporary site in the basement of the main building, the usual hubbub of a student watering hole is sporadically interrupted as corpses are wheeled past the cafeteria on their way to or from the morgue at the end of the corridor.
Work on a new building to house the cafeteria at the Hadassah Ein Karem site should have started several years ago but has been held up by red tape. In the meantime, the medical students face their morning coffee and croissants as best they can. "Although you expect to see corpses when you are studying medicine, having them wheeled past you during a coffee break is not pleasant," said one student. "You can't just ignore them."
Student leaders are upset that the university has had the money for a new cafeteria for three years but has failed to start construction. While the university points to a dispute with the hospital administration over land registration as the reason for the delay, the hospital itself has stated that obtaining authorisation for the plan is a long process involving several administrative bodies.
All sides have now committed themselves to getting the new building work started as early as possible, but it may be some time before healthy appetites return to the students of Ein Karem.