Tag Archive for: physical and psychological abuse

Israeli Doctor Treating Released Hostages Suffering From ‘Unprecedented Level of Extremely Severe Abuse, We Have to Rewrite the Textbooks of Post-Trauma’

How does one see unimaginable depravity up close and not be forever marred by it?

Pediatrician treating freed hostages: Reports of their good condition are misleading

Dr. Yael Mozer-Glassberg provides new details about physical and psychological states of 19 children and seven women brought to Schneider Children’s Medical Center

By Renee Ghert-Zand, Times of Israel, 4 December 2023:

Dr. Yael Mozer-Glassberg, director of Israel’s pediatric liver transplantation service at Schneider Children’s Medical Center, has seen some difficult things in her 25-year career. However, nothing in her experience prepared her for treating Israeli hostages freed from Gaza after nearly two months in captivity.

“From the medical point of view, this was a terrible event. Reports that everyone is giving that the returnees are in more or less stable condition are not true,” Mozer-Glassberg.

Without breaching privacy about the conditions and experiences of specific hostages, she divulged in an online press conference Monday some new details.

Mozer-Glassberg is part of a team of six female physicians, as well as nutritionists, psychologists, and social workers who have attended to the 19 children, and seven women who were brought to Schneider after being released from Hamas captivity in a deal brokered by Qatar and Egypt with American backing.

On October 7, Hamas breached the border with Israel and attacked more than 20 towns, kibbutzim, and IDF bases. The onslaught resulted in terrorists murdering more than 1,200 people and taking some 240 hostage to Gaza.

Like dedicated teams at several other Israeli hospitals, Mozer-Glassberg and her colleagues began preparing as early as October 8 to provide initial treatment to returnees, using protocols created by the Health Ministry and the Welfare Ministry.

Mozer-Glassberg confirmed that the hostages Schneider received had lost 10-15 percent of their body weight. The statistic was similar to one shared by Prof. Itai Pessach at Lily Safra Children’s Hospital at Sheba Medical Center, where other freed hostages were brought.

“The hostages shared with us stories about how limited the food they were given was. If they were given food at all, it was sometimes only a cup of tea and a biscuit or a single dried date in the morning and rice in the evening,” Mozer-Glassberg recounted.
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In cases where siblings were alone without their parents, the older sibling would not eat until the younger one did. For all the hostages, access to drinking water was limited.

“The captors would inflict psychological terrorism on them by forcing them to eat everything given to them after their stomachs had shrunk and hunger pains diminished after having eaten nearly nothing for days,” Mozer-Glassberg said.

As a result of deprivation in Gaza, some hostages exhibited unexpected eating habits when reintroduced to proper nutrition at the hospital. The staff had been primed to prevent the undernourished returnees from overeating and succumbing to the dangerous Refeeding Syndrome. But instead, they ate very little of the wide variety of foods offered, some of them only consuming crumbs they pulled from pieces of bread.

“It wasn’t like what we prepared for,” Mozer-Glassberg said.

The doctor reported that with access to water so limited in captivity, the hostages cleaned themselves only a few times during their 50-plus days in Gaza. Some did not bathe at all.

“They returned with extremely deficient hygiene. I have never seen hygiene this bad,” Mozer-Glassberg said. “Their head lice was the worst I have ever seen. Even with five or six treatments, the lice were not gone.”

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