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Michigan doctor back home after being trapped in Gaza on medical mission

Michigan doctor home after being evacuated from Gaza
Michigan doctor home after being evacuated from Gaza 02:54

(CBS DETROIT) - Dr. Ammar Ghanem spent his first full day back in West Bloomfield, at home, with the people he loves the most.

Ghanem spent nearly three weeks in Gaza, several days longer than expected.

"I went on a team focusing on trauma and ICU care, and I felt, probably, be able to make a difference," said Ghanem, who sat alongside his wife, Amnah Allboani Ghanem. They both sat down with CBS News Detroit after Ammar was trapped in Gaza following a medical mission where he and several other doctors from around the world volunteered their time.

Ghanem said it was supposed to be a two-week trip, May 1-13, and tensions began rising just days before he was supposed to leave.

"We start to hear that Israel has taken over the Rafah cross point, which is the one we enter from, and we start to worry about our ability to exit because there is no other exit point. The WHO, they were trying to call us down and then tell us ok, we'll get you a new exit every day, but it did not happen," Ghanem said.

He said he spent nearly three weeks in the Middle East before reuniting with his family on May 18.

"I thought I'm dreaming," his wife, Amnah said. "It was not easy at all. The moment I saw him, I just started crying," she said upon her husband's return home.

Ghanem said his wife and other loved ones were waiting at home for him when he arrived back in Michigan. His three kids, among others close to Ghanem, greeted him at the airport.

"I felt they matured in the last like three weeks," Ghanem said about his two sons and daughter. "Much more because they started to take more responsibility. What's going on with Dad? What's going on in the Middle East and other places? They felt what I've been doing is amazing and they are so proud of me," Ghanem said.

"Every day that the war continues, and we are losing hundreds of more civilians. And then, I felt I am responsible for voicing out their need and voicing out their request to stop this war as soon as possible. That's why I am doing that from day one. I know it's time-consuming; I need some time to recover, but I need to continue on this," Ghanem told CBS News Detroit when asked why he chose to speak with the local news so soon after his experience in Gaza.

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