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Families fear for the health of fragile and sick Israelis held hostage

“We want the government to do everything possible to bring back the hostages — that must be the top priority,” Tomer Keshet, Mr. Bibas’s cousin, said in an interview. “Yarden is hurt and the baby isn’t even up yet, he’s barely crawling.”

“We are so worried that the children have been separated from their parents, that they are afraid, that they do not have enough to eat and that this could have long-term repercussions,” said Ms. .Keshet. “They are held underground, hungry, not knowing what is happening, hearing the bombings, the fighting and shouting in a language they do not understand. We do not know what state they are in, nor what state they will be in when they return after this emotional trauma.

Although doctors generally refrain from discussing their patients’ medical conditions out of respect for privacy, several of the hostages’ personal doctors spoke out publicly last week to draw attention to their plight and highlight the urgency of their situation.

“In some cases, children were kidnapped moments after seeing their parents brutally murdered,” said Dr. Zion Hagai, president of the Israel Medical Association. “They are not only forced to live with this trauma, but also to live it in a strange, dark and scary place. »

Speakers highlighted the cases of several particularly vulnerable hostages, including Raz Ben Ami, 57, from Kibbutz Beeri, who was being treated for neurosarcoidosis, a serious and rare disease that affects the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves, leading to hearing problems. and loss of vision, confusion, agitation and other effects.

Dr. Arnon Elizur spoke of a young patient, Yagil Yaakov, who suffers from a life-threatening peanut allergy and could die within minutes if exposed to even traces of peanut powder. Islamic Jihad, another militant group in the Gaza Strip, recently released a video of the boy, looking pale and thin, with dark circles under his eyes.

“I can’t imagine what goes through his mind when he’s served food,” Dr. Elizur said. “Can we be sure that it doesn’t contain traces of peanuts?” For him, every meal is like playing Russian roulette.

Someone else’s son the hostage, Haim Peri, said his father suffered from advanced heart disease.

“He is an artist, a peace activist and a man who has always fought for human rights,” said the son, Noam Peri. “He is a brave man, but at 80 years old, he is not in good health and needs medication daily. He will not survive captivity for long.

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