Bay Area doctor heads to Gaza's Rafah border on medical mission despite possible Israeli invasion

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Sunday, April 28, 2024
Bay Area doctor heads to Gaza border despite possible Israeli invasion
A Bay Area doctor is on her way to Gaza's Rafah border for a volunteer medical mission amid reports of hospitals being attacked and doctors killed.

SAN CARLOS, Calif. (KGO) -- By many accounts, Gaza it is currently one of the most dangerous places in the world. But that's not stopping Dr. Haleh Sheikholeslami from going there on a medical mission.

"When you see people, starving, who don't have health care, who don't have any basic needs, why not help," says Dr. Sheikholeslami.

Dr. Sheikholeslami is a family physician at Sutter Health in San Carlos. On Saturday, she headed out on a two week medical mission to Gaza. She lands in Cairo and then heads to the Rafah boarder, where the group of medical volunteers will cross into the town of Rafah.

"You don't have everything at your disposal, but you can do your part. And hopefully, it will help, right. It will help sometimes when a kid is sick, giving the correct anti-biotics," she explains.

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Sheikholeslami says know she is entering a war zone. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of an imminent ground invasion of Rafah. But she says that is not her focus right now.

"I have the faith that things will work out. And I guess my life isn't any more important than anyone else's life," says the doctor.

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Her niece, Sana, says that is the kind of determination that has always driven her aunt.

"It really reflects what my aunt does, in this world as a mother, wife, doctor and simply as a genuinely as a good-hearted person," explains Sana.

Sana adds that the family is not surprised that her aunt is this meeting this moment in history.

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"I think we are all really concerned for her safety. We know that so many lives in the region have been brutally taken. thousands of Palestinians, humanitarian aid workers, journalists, doctors, so I think we are all really concerned, but also really, really proud of her," says Sana.

Doctor Sheikholeslami says she is not trying to save the world, just help the people of Gaza. Bear witness to the atrocities of war. And take a stand for something she believes in.

"Yes, there is a risk involved, but Insha'Allah (God willing), it will be certainly worth it and then I can come back and talk about all that I witnessed," says Dr. Sheikholeslami.

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