Al-Shifa Hospital's Dr Hammam Alloh: Israel kills dedicated Gaza doctor who refused to leave patients

Dr Hammam Alloh a nephrologist in Gaza2
6 min read

In a conversation with media platform Democracy Now! when questioned as to why he had not fled for the south of Gaza as ordered by Israeli directives, Palestinian doctor, Hammam Alloh responded: "If I go who would treat my patients? We are not animals, we have the right to receive proper health care. You think I went to medical school and for my postgraduate degrees for a total of 14 years so I think only about my life and not my patients?"

The young doctor, born in 1986, was giving voice to the true essence of the medical profession and its mission, and what it entails of sacrifice and dedication to saving lives.

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However, he took his last breath just days ago after an Israeli airstrike targeted his wife's family home, adjacent to the Al-Shifa hospital and medical complex, where he was taking some much-needed rest.

The fate of Dr Hammam's mother and his pregnant wife is uncertain, alongside the fate of his son (5) and daughter (4) – with some information indicating that they were with their mother at a different location and so escaped the bombing of the family home.

Their whereabouts are still unknown and at this moment their fate is unclear.

"If I go who would treat my patients? We are not animals, we have the right to receive proper health care. You think I went to medical school and for my postgraduate degrees for a total of 14 years so I think only about my life and not my patients?"

Dedicated to his patients

Dr Hazem Madi, a friend of Dr Alloh's, spoke to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister edition: "The last interview with Dr Hammam showed his true mettle and humanity, because he did not leave his work, and he did not step back from honouring his profession.

"He refused to leave to the south of Gaza and stayed in the north until his last moment. I knew Hammam as a respectful colleague dedicated to his patients. He would not compromise on his principles and his mission," Dr Hazem said. 

"I first got to know him on the Jordanian doctor training programme in Gaza. There were around 100 of us, and we went on to study our specialisations in Amman before returning to Gaza. We both worked at the Ministry of Health, before joining the College of Medicine at the Islamic University as lecturers.

"Before the Israeli attack, he had moved on to working at the Al-Shifa medical complex and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in northern Gaza, while I started working in the European hospital in the south of the Strip because it was closer to my home."

Dr Madi adds: "Dr Hammam started his university studies at the College of Medicine at Sana'a University in Yemen, where he graduated with distinction, and obtained his Bachelor's degree in Medicine and Surgery."

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An outstanding doctor

After this he returned to Gaza to obtain the certificate to practice as a medical doctor, says Dr Madi, "Before moving to Jordan, where he did his residency in internal medicine. He won the highest marks in the Jordanian Board examinations and went on to train Jordanian doctors interning in general medicine to pass their exams. Then he continued his specialization in kidney diseases and transplantation, because of the dire need for this specialisation in the Gaza Strip. In 2021 he returned to his homeland."

It had only been two years since Dr Hammam had returned to Gaza, and he was expecting his third child.

His friend, Dr Madi continues: "He was a patient doctor, and was extremely attentive to the needs of his patients, and would listen to their complaints, and respond to all their questions. He was also an outstanding doctor and was up-to-date with all the scientific studies and sources, and he would spend most of his nights at the hospital."

Dr Hammam has joined the growing list of doctors Israel has killed in Gaza, and it has become clear that Israeli forces are targeting those wearing clothing marking them out as medical personnel.

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Dr Mohammed al-Hajj, a Palestinian doctor specialising in internal medicine, spoke about his former colleague and close friend.

"I met him during my residency in Jordan. He was older than me, and at a more advanced stage than me in Amman, so he took me under his wing, along with my colleagues from Gaza, and became almost like a big brother," he says.

"From an educational standpoint, he was with us at every step during our specialisation period. We'd go to him if we needed to consult someone, and he'd always support us.

"He always wanted to know how we were, what we needed and if we had any problems. Not one day passed where he hesitated to offer his support and help. Hammam was a brother and a rock, and his character could be summed up by his knowledge, his morals, and his civilised nature. They even nicknamed him 'The Legend' in Jordan."

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He wanted to serve his people

The doctor, killed by Israel on November 11, received the top mark for the Jordanian Board of Nephrology exams, says Dr Hajj.

"Hammam worked for a short time in Amman before he returned to Gaza. This was in spite of the fact that he received many job offers due to his proficiency and outstanding skills," Dr Hajj continues.

"However, he preferred to return to Gaza, to dedicate his learning and his efforts to serving his people. He was always saying how he wanted to live and work in Gaza. My brother, another doctor al Al-Shifa hospital, told me that Hammam never once left his work. Since the war began, he kept treating the dialysis patients as well as attending to his other patients."

On his last day, Dr Hammam had wished to take a short rest and had gone to his wife's family home which was next to the Al-Shifa complex.

It was here he was killed, alongside his father, father-in-law, and brother-in-law; all of them victims of a targeted Israeli airstrike.

However, his last words testify to the ethical and moral essence of the medical profession and its immortal ideals.

He embodied the Hippocratic oath of his field, in both word and deed, in the midst of a world steeped in injustice and the absence of humanity.  

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition. To read the original article click here.

Translated by Rose Chacko   

This article is taken from our Arabic sister publication, Al-Araby Al Jadeed and mirrors the source's original editorial guidelines and reporting policies. Any requests for correction or comment will be forwarded to the original authors and editors.

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