When 17-year-old Ismail Daoud from the Gaza city of Beit Lahiya was diagnosed with leukemia last year, he wanted to be treated in Israel.
Ismail’s father, Ibrahim, had worked in Israel as a floor tile installer before the Intifada and had positive memories of Israel. “At Hadassah Hospital everyone treats you the same, whether you are Jewish or an Arab,” says Mr. Daoud. “I thought so, from the years working in Israel that it would be that way, but it’s nice to experience it firsthand.”
Initially, Ismail went to see the doctors at Augusta Victoria, a Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem. Augusta Victoria has a pediatric oncology unit, which was developed under the guidance and training of Dr. Michael Weintraub, head of Hadassah’s Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department. When Augusta Victoria’s physicians discovered that Ismail had acute myeloid leukemia along with additional medical complications, they suggested he be treated at Hadassah. Ismail spent six months at Hadassah in the Pediatric Oncology Unit, where he received chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. All seemed well and he returned to Gaza. The leukemia, however, returned and he is now undergoing additional chemotherapy at Hadassah in preparation for a second bone marrow transplant.
Recently, Ismail celebrated his 18th birthday at Hadassah. He says he’s eager to get back to school and hopes to be a teacher when he grows up. “I wasn’t afraid to come to an Israeli hospital,” he said. “I just want to get well.”