DFW doctor stuck in Gaza urges ceasefire – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

North Texas physician Dr. Mahmoud Sobha was supposed to go home Tuesday night. Instead, he is stuck in Gaza with at least 20 other American health care workers after Israel seized the Rafah crossing — the only remaining route in and out of the Gaza Strip.Across its borders with Egypt.

“The situation in Gaza that I personally saw is getting worse and worse,” Sobha said, speaking to NBC 5 from the European Hospital in Rafah, Gaza.

“More people are now homeless; more people are now without their fathers, without their mothers; children are dying,” he added.

Sabha began his second medical mission there on May 1, where he helped treat wounds such as burns and amputations.

“A lot of them have passed since I first came,” he said.

He said the wounds he treats often become infested with maggots due to unsanitary conditions.

More than a million people had taken refuge in Rafah, which the Israeli military once classified as a safe zone, with little or no food, clean water or fuel.

“It is very difficult to treat them, and it is very difficult to see some of these patients,” Sabha said. “There is almost nothing you can do for them, so it is difficult. It is difficult to continue psychologically.”

Dr. Mahmoud Sobha (left) and one of his patients, Yassin (right). ()

Israel’s seizure of the Rafah crossing also means that Sabha and at least 20 other American health care workers will not be able to exit.

“When we got the confirmation, it was just a big shock, some denial,” said Sara Mushtaq, Dr Sobha’s sister-in-law.

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She said the family realized on Saturday that their loved ones would not be able to leave on Monday, as planned.

Mushtaq said it was difficult for her and her sister to keep a brave face in front of the children while not knowing how or when Subha would be able to return home.

Sabha has a two-year-old girl and a six-month-old boy.

“Trying to do that and then balancing your emotions, it was just a lot of inner turmoil,” Mushtaq said.

Now she is helping her sister bring Sabha back home, by starting an advocacy group and contacting elected officials.

“I think we are trying to put all this sadness that we feel about the situation into action,” Mushtaq said.

The family is also demanding safe humanitarian passage.

“The supplies there are very limited. They have not been given any food, water or medical supplies to do their work since the border was closed. They are actually relying on supplies they have personally brought,” Mushtaq said.

They say the ultimate goal is a ceasefire.

“This opened my eyes to how terrible the conditions are in the hospitals there, how many people are suffering, and how we will never fully rest until there is a permanent ceasefire,” she added.

“It is a man-made disaster, and it is a disgrace to humanity. It is a disgrace to those in power, and those who don’t care,” Dr. Sobha said.

In a mindset that may be indicative of a health care worker, Dr. Sobha said that he is not as worried about himself as he is about others.

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“I’m worried about not being able to go. But I’m more worried that I’ll be able to go, and no one else will be able to come take my place.”

He and many patients fear that the European Hospital will suffer the same fate as Al-Shifa Hospital in the north.

Workers discovered more than 400 bodies from the hospital and surrounding neighborhoods after a brutal two-week raid by the Israeli army.

“I don’t want to see pictures of this hospital burned or empty,” Sabha said. “For some reason, it’s now possible for hospitals to come in and invade and take over and burn them down. How did this happen? “I’m not sure, but it’s not okay.”

He wants the world to have more compassion for the people he is currently helping.

“This Palestinian life is as precious and beautiful as any other life here on earth,” he said.

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