Ailing Hamas Hostages Desperately Need Care, Doctors Say

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

Speakers highlighted the cases of several particularly vulnerable hostages, among them Raz Ben Ami, 57, from the Be’eri kibbutz, who was being treated for neurosarcoidosis, a serious and rare disease that affects the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves, causing hearing and vision loss, confusion, agitation and other effects.

Dr. Arnon Elizur spoke of a young patient, Yagil Yaakov, who has a life-threatening peanut allergy and could die in minutes if he were exposed to even trace amounts of peanut powder. Islamic Jihad, another militant group in the Gaza Strip, recently published a video of the boy, looking pale and thin, with dark shadows under his eyes.

“I can’t imagine what is going through his mind when he is served food,” Dr. Elizur said. “Can he be certain it doesn’t contain trace amounts of peanuts? Every meal for him is like playing Russian roulette.”

The son of another hostage, Haim Peri, said that his father had advanced heart disease.

“He is an artist, a peace activist and a man who always fought for human rights,” said the son, Noam Peri. “He is a brave man, but at age 80, he is not a healthy man, and requires daily medications. He will not survive captivity for long.”

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