I have a patient who is only 52 years old and will die in the next few hours. I spent most of the night doing everything I can to extend his life just enough for the family to get here.
At 11pm I spoke to his brother who said he can arrive by 2pm from Ramallah, but unfortunately, because of the situation at the Kalandia Checkpoint, may not be able to arrive sooner. He did however managed to contact the patient’s teenage son who was nearby and who I spoke to this morning.
I can’t even begin to imagine what this boy is going through, trying to deal with the fact that his father is dying, but he managed to put on a brave face talking to me.
When the boy realised how bad things were he asked if there was anything we could do to try to help his mother get to his fathers bedside before he died. The trouble was that she doesn't have a permit to get through the checkpoint.
After I went this them to Hospital Reception (me as a doctor being there may open some doors), we ended up having to just give the teenager a letter saying that his father is a patient at Hadassah and is dying. He now has to take that to various bureaucrats to get the permit. I hope and pray that someone helpful decides to rush it through, because my greatest fear is that while he is off doing this, his father will die alone.
It doesn't need to be like this.
There should be a number I can call for the officer at the checkpoint. A helpful army soldier should pick up the wife and drive her straight to us. Doors should part.
If not, then I'm not sure the son will ever forgive the occupiers, and I'm not sure how easily I could forgive us either.