Bay Area doctor remains trapped in Gaza along with 19 others

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Bay Area doctor trapped in Gaza along with 19 others
More than 20 U.S. doctors are trapped in Gaza, unable to leave and return home. One of those doctors is Dr. Haleh Sheikholeslami from the Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 20 U.S. doctors are trapped in Gaza, unable to leave and return home.

One of those doctors is from the Bay Area. Dr. Haleh Sheikholeslami, a family physician from Sutter Health in San Carlos, entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing in late April hopeful she could help children there on a two week medical mission.

Her family says Dr. Sheikholeslami is trapped with no way to exit into Egypt to come home.

Her brother, Ahmad Sheikholeslami, who lives in the East Bay said:

"Late Sunday night, early Monday morning, was the last text and that was that they were relocating and they were hoping in a few days the crossing would get reopened."

But the prospects of a quick return are grim with the Rafah border crossing closed.

RELATED: Family makes contact with Bay Area doctor who left for Gaza to provide medical aid

Dr. Sheikholeslami has a husband and two grown daughters in the Bay Area along with extended family.

"Her daughters have been really struggling in the last few weeks going through all of this," said Ahmad.

Zahra Billoo with the Council on American-Islamic Relations SF Bay Area said, "In all my conversations with families who had members go, there is a very real we may never come back fear that they are grappling with. We know that of the over 20 doctors, at least one is facing significant dehydration and is on an IV drip. But these are doctors who can't get supplies to do their work and are now also in danger of starvation and medical issues."

CAIR says there is at least one more doctor from the Bay Area who is trapped along with three from Southern California.

"We are tracking doctors in the San Francisco Bay area, the Los Angeles and Orange County area and then Texas as well," Billoo said.

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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.

Ahmad said, "We have made contact with Congresswoman's Eshoo's office and they have responded and we've tried to reach out to the state department."

Dr Sheikholeslami did an interview with ABC7 news before she left for Gaza, saying she hoped she could "do her part."

For now, her family prays for a reassuring text message and intervention on the part of the United States government.

"Those people who are making the sacrifice, we owe it to them to bring them home," Ahmad said.

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