Chicago area doctors return from Gaza after volunteering during Israel-Hamas war

Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Chicago area doctors return from Gaza
Doctors from the Chicago area with MedGlobal are back home after volunteering at Gaza hospitals amid the Israel-Hamas war.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Local doctors have now returned from Gaza, where they helped treat patients from the Israel-Hamas war.

An event will feature several of the volunteers talking about their experience, but Dr. Zaher Sahloul spoke to ABC7 about what he saw.

Even though he's now far from the conflict in Gaza, the patients and healthcare workers there are still top of mind.

"What I witnessed in Gaza is beyond description," Sahloul said. "There is a lot of suffering among people who are innocent who had nothing to do with October 7th."

READ MORE: Local charity to evacuate doctor from Gaza hospital stormed by IDF

Sahloul is a pulmonary critical care specialist and co-founder of Chicago Ridge-based MedGlobal, which does humanitarian missions around the world. He and his team were in Gaza in January.

"After each bombing, you have an influx of mass casualties and many of the casualties are children, so this is heartbreaking," he said. "As physicians we swore the Hippocratic oath that we serve everyone, and if we are able to serve people in Gaza or in Israel or in Colombia or in Bangladesh or in Ukraine, we should do that."

On Tuesday night, those doctors were honored at an event sponsored by the Sanctity Project.

"It's an opportunity for us to reflect on our role and our abilities to help people who have no one else to help them," said Sanctity Project President Dr. Tayyab Khan.

Doctors shared stories and images from Gaza of those caught in the crossfire of the Israel-Hamas war.

During their time there, the team set up a clinic that Sahloul said is now seeing 700 to 800 patients a day. The doctors said they simply did what they could and will continue to do what is needed, because it is their life's calling.

The money raised from Tuesday night's Sanctity Project event will go back to MedGlobal so that their work can continue.

"We hope that our guests tonight will come away from this with a renewed sense of compassion for their fellow human beings and a renewed sense of service to the public, not only here but abroad as well," Khan said.

MedGlobal had a team return from Gaza earlier this week, and another team is set to leave on March 3 if the situation there doesn't get worse.

Sahloul and other volunteers are watching the news and hoping for a ceasefire, return of hostages and ultimately peace for the people.