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West Bloomfield doctor stranded in Gaza after traveling on medical mission

Posted at 6:14 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 06:08:34-04

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Dr. Ammar Ghanem from West Bloomfield tells our team he was supposed to come home from a medical mission in Gaza on Monday but is now stranded.

"We arrived here on May 1st and were supposed to be leaving last Monday," said Ghanem.

The husband and father of three from West Bloomfield told us he, and the rest of the team he's with, are stranded after Israeli defense forces seized the border crossing with Egypt in Rafah.

When he realized he couldn't leave Ghanem said, "I started to worry at multiple levels, mainly my family, they are heartbroken."

We spoke with Ghanem's wife Amnah Allboani who told us, "I was okay until maybe the end of last week. But last week towards the end I was really freaking out because you know how they delay the exit. So every day they say 'tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow,' and tomorrow is not coming yet."

Allboani said she and their children were hesitant about Ghanem traveling to Gaza amid the ongoing war but respected his need to help the thousands of people suffering.

"He’s helping, he’s working, and he needs to come back for us," said Allboani.

"You cannot imagine the situation here," said Ghanem. "Medical supplies are a big shortage here and they are only being able to be brought in by medical missions."

Ghanem's medical mission is overseen by the World Health Organization, it's up to the organization to bring the team home safely.

Ghanem said while they have been in Gaza they've been able to save the lives of many children and adults who need help with burns, limbs, and brain trauma.

He said the hospital they are working in is a safe space for people who aren't injured as well.

He shared a photo showing sheets being held up in the hospital creating spaces for families to live behind.

"There are many people living in this hospital now because they see it as a safe shelter for them," said Ghanem.

He said he is concerned for his own safety, but he's also worried about other medical missions being able to get into Gaza.

Ghanem said they'll most likely need to use another crossing to evacuate, and hopes when they do more medical teams come to treat the helpless.

"We really want the new medical missions to continue because the effect, or impact of this, is beyond patient care alone," said Ghanem.