I volunteered in Gaza and left special instructions for my ticket to Jurgen Klopp’s last match if I died

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The children’s doctor and avid Liverpool supporter trusted one person to fulfil her final wishes.

A Liverpool children’s doctor who travelled to Gaza to operate on people injured during the conflict with Israel said she made special arrangements for her £20,000 ticket to Jurgen Klopp’s final match as Liverpool manager in the event of her death.

Dr Ana Jeelani, 38, is a consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Alder Hey Hospital and spent two weeks volunteering at Al-Aqsa hospital, arranged through Medical Aid for Palestinians..

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ahead of the trip to Gaza, Dr Jeelani and other members of the team were given two days of security training in Egypt, where they learned what to do if they were taken hostage and how to make a tourniquet with one hand if the other had been blown off.

Despite the frightening reality of volunteering during the conflict, Dr Jeelani knew she could help those in need. “Wherever you stand on the conflict, 15,000 children are dead and we’re children’s doctors. We can’t ignore that,” she said.

An avid Liverpool supporter, the 38-year-old said people asked if she had made a will ahead of the trip, but the only thing she made provisions for was preventing her ticket to Jurgen Klopp’s final match at Anfield being sold.

The Reds boss, who has led the club to Champions League and Premier League glory since taking charge in October 2015, will stand down following Sunday’s match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at an emotional Anfield.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I got it for about £47 in the ballot but it’s now worth something like £20,000,” she said. “Only one person has access to my account apart from me - I told him ‘If I die, my ticket can’t be sold,’ and I gave him a list of true supporters who could take it.”

Dr Ana Jeelani, 38, is a consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Alder Hey Hospital. Image: MAP/Dr JeelaniDr Ana Jeelani, 38, is a consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Alder Hey Hospital. Image: MAP/Dr Jeelani
Dr Ana Jeelani, 38, is a consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Alder Hey Hospital. Image: MAP/Dr Jeelani

Dr Jeelani continued: “Beyond that, I didn’t really think about whether or not I might come back from Gaza. You just don’t know – there’s no pattern to this conflict. I just thought, ‘If my time’s come, my time’s come. I’ve done something worthwhile.’ And equally you could die being hit by a bus in Didsbury. If you’re going to go, you might as well do something you’d be proud of.”

During her time in Gaza, Dr Jeelani and her team performed 132 operations and 181 consultations in ten days. She described the Al-Aqsa hospital as ‘chaotic’ noting: “There were 166 beds and around 800 inpatients. Families would tend to their injured, basically living in the hospital, some would bring in stoves to cook food, and all this is in the ward or the corridor, all mixed up together.

“There’s no nutrition, no specialised mattresses for pressure wounds, some of the beds don’t even have mattresses. The wounds are contaminated and most of the wounds become infected. There’s no fresh food – anything which is getting in has already gone off. I heard about a colleague’s wife who queued for half an hour and paid $35 for six eggs, when she cracked them open they were all rotten. They’re living on canned food.” She added it ‘wasn’t unusual’ to have to finish an operation in the dark as lights would often go out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Despite the difficulties, Dr Jeelani said she there were ‘moments of joy’. “We felt like a proper family,” she said, adding: “I never felt homesick. I have left my heart there. I don’t think I can ever fully mentally recover from it until the situation is over.

“When we were leaving, a guy said that even if we hadn’t operated on a single patient, the fact that we came here and let them know that they’re not alone means more than anything. Everything on social media depicts the horrors, but it doesn’t depict the heart.” Alder Hey Children’s Hospital arranged for Dr Jeelani to be given counselling when she returned home and were ‘very supportive’ of her decision to volunteer. She said she experienced insomnia for two weeks following the trip but has found comfort in staying in touch with other volunteers.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.