Hamza Ali Mohammed
Screengrab from WION Youtube video

Hamza Ali Mohammed, a two-year-old child, had to undergo an open heart surgery in Israel all alone in the absence of his parents owing to sudden restrictions laid down due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamza Ali underwent open heart surgery at Wolfson Medical Center in Israel while parents Khetam and Issam Dar Ali Mohammad could not cross the border and were literally 'locked down' in Palestine. The day Khetam and Issam returned home to check on Hamza's siblings, the lockdown restrictions were announced, leaving them in shock.

The hospital staff became Hamza's parents, friends and relatives for two months, who facilitated video calls between the child and parents.

Hamza is a resident of Ramallah in Palestine. He was being treated for a life-threatening congenital heart disease in a hospital in Israel. The surgery was unavoidable considering the health condition of Hamza and after admitting him in the hospital, parents were not allowed into Israel as Israeli and Palestinian authorities had sealed the boundary to keep coronavirus infections in check.

The follow-up surgery was performed in February and Hamza was being monitored in the hospital for over two months by the hospital staff, while parents just had the opportunity to look at their son through video call.

Though the situations between Palestine and Israel are tense, the surgery was performed under Save a Child's Heart, an Israeli-based volunteer organization that seeks to improve pediatric care in developing countries.

At last after a separation of two months, Hamza was taken in a van by the medical staff to a checkpoint near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on May 7, where his mother was eagerly waiting for his arrival.

Hamza, his mother hugged him tight while planting kisses on his cheeks as she was teary eyed after seeing her son who had braved the heart surgery without her.

Speaking to Reuters, Dr Ahmed Amer, Pediatric Resident in the hospital where Hamza Ali was treated said, "We did not keep him alone for a minute. A child of his age and in his condition, he needs to be hugged and loved in order to recover and get stronger, and that's exactly what we all gave him."