‘My heart is broken’: Surgeon in Meath hospital feels ‘helpless’ after brother killed in Gaza

‘What is going on is not human. To see the suffering of mothers looking at the bodies of their slain children in plastic bags is not human. And the world looks on’

An Irish-based orthopaedic surgeon says he feels helpless and devastated after his youngest brother was killed in Gaza last week, just an hour after he sent his toddler son to safety.

Dr Mahmoud Abumarzouq lost his 29-year-old brother Ahmed Abumarzouq last Friday when an Israeli bomb hit the refugee camp in Rafah where he was staying. The surgeon at Our Lady’s Hospital in Navan, Co Meath, said he is now really worried about his parents and remaining family as they struggle to afford the food prices which have soared ten-fold.

“I don’t know what to say. My heart is broken. I couldn’t even go to his funeral or to help my family,” he said. “I keep thinking about his son, my nephew, Faisal who is barely walking. I’m told he is waking up in the middle of the night and walking around with his blanket calling `daddy, daddy’.”

“His wife Mum Faisal [Baraa] is a widow after a few years. They loved each other dearly, and Ahmed had only qualified as a social worker recently.


“The bomb, which was a drone, hit his room and caused devastation. He had only sent Faisal to his nana’s house one hour before he was killed. AI should be helping people, not helping to kill them.

“I lost my eldest brother Refat in 2000 when he was shot at only 23 years old and now Ahmed is gone. My brother-in-law and elderly uncle were also killed in a missile attack last year.

“I got a video of his funeral and my father is saying that if he survives he will take care of Faisal. My father is 75 years old and a great-grandfather with health conditions. He shouldn’t be rearing a toddler.

“As a doctor I’m going into surgery every day to help people, and then I come home and see people killing people in my part of the world. Sometimes I just have to take a breath and my colleagues have been so supportive of me.

“My children only met Ahmed and Faisal and my family for the first time last summer when I brought them there on their first trip. Ahmed was bringing them places on the bikes and Faisal was so loving to all my kids, so adorable. They were distraught when I told them of Ahmed’s death.

“Happy memories that have turned to hellish times,” said Dr Abumarzouq.

“They are talking about a ceasefire. I hope it can come true. People need to breathe and get medicine and supplies. Some doctors I know over there have been kidnapped, while one I know says that those who are injured have slim chances of surviving because they can’t get treatment and they can’t get out across the Egyptian border.

“I spoke to Ahmed last week and he asked if he could take children’s medicine because he had a sore throat. We laughed about it. And now I cry.

“I try to send money to them but everything is so expensive. A tray of eggs used to be about €3 and now it is €50. Basic things can’t be found or are too expensive.”

“My eldest sister Lamina, who inspired me to become a doctor, is a lecturer in microbiology in Gaza now and is every day trying to find flour to make bread to feed her six boys. What is going on is not human. To see the suffering of mothers looking at the bodies of their slain children in plastic bags is not human. And the world looks on.”

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