Biopsy Needle Delivery Helps Gaza Cancer Testing
Dr. Hisham Jeidi is a rare commodity in Gaza – one of the few doctors who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer. His expertise is especially critical under Gaza’s siege that was imposed two years ago.
“People are not allowed to leave Gaza,” he laments, “So what happens to our patients who are already suffering pain each time they go to the border and are turned back? It makes them feel even worse.”
Dr. Jeidi joined the hospital three years ago and explains the economic hardship that adds to the suffering. A patient who has no job has to borrow money to purchase a biopsy needle in order to get the blood diagnosis.
For the many who cannot leave, a biopsy done in Gaza can be a life-saver.
“Even when the patients can get across the border into Egypt for diagnosis, they can’t guarantee the accuracy of the results. Sometimes they need to follow up the diagnosis, but that means spending more days away from their families who are their key support during their illness,” added Dr Jeidi. Dr. Jeidi had tried to no avail to obtain the biopsy needles to perform the tests inside Gaza and relieve his patients of the cost and anxiety of having to travel outside for help.
Now, ANERA has purchased and delivered needles to the hospital for use in bone marrow biopsies to help Dr Jeidi and his colleagues complete their work at home and save his patients the added stress of having to leave Gaza for treatment.
Dr Hossam el-Ghouty, who also works at the hospital, is a consultant doctor at Okhlof Hospital in Israel and can move between Gaza and Israel, unlike Dr Jeidi who has not been able to leave Gaza even to attend a medical conference in Israel. Each time Dr. el-Ghouty comes to Gaza, he takes blood samples back to Israeli labs for analysis. He has also been instrumental in training local doctors on how to take samples and diagnose patients, as well as coordinating for critical cases to be transferred to Israel for treatment.
Dr Jeidi says access to biopsy needles in Gaza is a major plus for this arrangement. “It is much better for us to take the blood samples here and get them to labs in Israel where we can be sure of an accurate analysis.” Without the needles, Dr Jeidi says his hands are tied. “There is no other way to get these needles except though ANERA because they are so expensive.”
The hospital does not charge patients, who pay only a symbolic fee for the service. Now, thanks to ANERA’s delivery, cancer patients can get their diagnosis in Gaza and stay home with their families at a time when they really need to be surrounded and supported by their loved ones.