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Israeli Doctors Fight to Save Palestinian Child in Hebron

The Israeli medical staff of Tel Hashomer Hospital is fighting for the life of a 6-month-old Palestinian infant abandoned by her parents.
Cancer patient and blind Palestinian girl Aseel al-Haj Ahmed, 9, holds her mother's hand as she receives a regular treatment in a hospital in Gaza City April 29, 2013. Al-Haj Ahmed was afflicted with cancer when she was four months old, when doctors had to remove both her eyes and replace them with ocular prostheses as a result of a malignant tumour that struck her spinal cord. The schoolgirl is looked after by her unemployed father whose impoverished family includes his wife and four other children. Al-Haj
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This is the story of a 6-month-old Palestinian infant from Hebron who suffers from a genetic illness, but whose parents refuse to save her. Like all the other staff members at the Safra Pediatric Hospital in Tel Hashomer, the story has left Dr. Raz Somech of the Department of Hemato-Oncology with many sleepless nights. What causes parents to give up on their child, even when the doctors believe that she can be saved?

I documented Somech’s daily struggle to save lives three years ago in the documentary "Precious Life," which was shot in the hospital’s bone marrow transplant ward. Back then, Somech was fighting for the life of Muhammad Abu Mustafa, a 4-month-old Palestinian infant from the Gaza Strip, who was dying from a genetic illness which caused him a failing immune system. Children with the same disease that Muhammad had are often called “bubble boys,” because in the past they were routinely kept in a plastic bubble to isolate them from viruses and germs that could kill them. Two of Muhammad’s sisters had already died from the same hereditary disease, and none of the doctors who were familiar with the family’s tragic genetic history gave him even the slightest chance to survive.

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