Doctor: Returned child hostages suffered malnutrition, terrible hygiene, untreated wounds

Renee Ghert-Zand is the health reporter and a feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Emily Hand (right) reunites with her father, Tom Hand, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Emily Hand (right) reunites with her father, Tom Hand, in the early hours of November 26, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

Dr. Yael Mozer-Glassberg, one of the pediatricians caring for the freed hostages at Schneider Children’s Medical Center, says that reports that they returned to Israel in decent medical condition are not true.

Mozer-Glassberg confirms that the 26 former hostages her hospital received — 19 of them children — had lost 10-15 percent of their body weight. As a result of the severely limited amount of food the hostages were given in Gaza, some have exhibited odd eating habits when reintroduced to proper nutrition.

While maintaining personal medical privacy and not going into excessive detail, she shares that in general the hostages returned with skin rashes and lice bites on their bodies.

“They returned with extremely low hygiene. I have never seen hygiene this bad,” Mozer-Glassberg says. “Their headlice was the worst I have ever seen. Even with five or six treatments, the lice were not gone.”

In addition, the hostages came home with infected wounds that had not been properly cared for while in captivity.

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