Live After Quit

“Crossing from Desperation: Gaza’s Premature, Sick Babies Evacuated from Al-Shifa

Numan was just one day old when he crossed the Gaza-Egypt border. Born prematurely at only 30 weeks gestation and weighing just 2lb, his parents had expected to spend days in the Palestinian pediatric hospital Al-Shifa. But then the Israeli bombardment of Gaza intensified, forcing the early evacuation of Al-Shifa by the Palestinian Authority. With no other safer options, Numan’s family set out in the night in a convoy of ambulances with other critically sick babies to seek medical treatment in Egypt. The historic hospital evacuation marked a turning point in the recent violence. Within the Israeli bombardment that began just days earlier it targeted Gaza’s main hospital, Al-Shifa, as well as other medical care facilities and their forces. The hospital was destroyed, leaving the civilians in Gaza without proper medical care. With the growing humanitarian crisis, Al-Shifa’s medical staff uncertain of when and if they’d be able to return to the hospital, decided to evacuate as many babies as possible. The heroic decision of Al-Shifa is a shining example of what ordinary people can accomplish in the face of extreme adversity. With an unknown future ahead of them, the medical staff decided to quit their hospitals and evacuate the lives of those most vulnerable – the premature babies. The evacuation convoy drove through the night all the way to Egypt, spanning across the 240 miles of road from Gaza to the Egyptian border. Once at the Egyptian border, the convoy was able to cross and the babies were taken in for care. Numan’s family was among the fortunate few able to make it to Egypt, safe from the violence of the Israeli bombardment. But for the infants that were still in Gaza, the story was far too grim. Numan’s story is a testament to the courage of the medical staff at Al-Shifa and people in Gaza. Despite the dire circumstances, they were willing to risk their own safety to save the lives of the most vulnerable. It’s a reminder that amidst the violence we can find hope and be inspired to make a difference when all seems lost.