The Israeli Health Ministry has reportedly issued local hospitals guidelines for feeding patients suffering from malnutrition as they prepare to admit 50 hostages released by Hamas in the ceasefire deal.
The official guidelines address the “treatment of refeeding syndrome in returning captives,” according to Israeli news outlet Ynet, referring to a condition that can be fatal for people who have not eaten adequately for long periods and are suddenly introduce a normal diet.
“Prolonged malnutrition can lead to significant nutritional deficiencies that can negatively affect health and even pose a fatal risk,” the guide explains, breaking down recommended diets by age group.
Children between one and three years old should be given water, a sweet cookie, unsweetened applesauce and tea sweetened with a teaspoon of sugar, the guide says.
Teenagers and adults will be given water, a hot drink sweetened with a tablespoon of sugar, three cookies, and unsweetened applesauce.
Refeeding syndrome is caused by a sudden change in metabolic, fluid and electrolyte intake, according to the National Institutes of Health. Patients who have not received adequate sustenance for a period of ten days are susceptible.
It is unclear what condition the 240 hostages taken by Hamas during its bloody October 7 surprise attack are in.
During their 54 days of captivity, most are believed to have been held captive in the elaborate network of tunnels dug deep beneath Gaza.
Israel and Hamas agreed to terms for a four-day ceasefire that is expected to begin at 7 a.m. local time (12 a.m. ET). In exchange for the release of the hostages, Israel will free 150 Palestinian prisoners and send trucks with fuel and humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
The first hostages will be handed over on Friday at 4:00 p.m. Children will be sent to Schneider Children’s Medical Center, according to Ynet, and adults to Wolfson, Ichilov, Soroka and Sheba hospitals.
The hostages’ families requested that hospitals be sent specific guidance on refeeding syndrome, said Professor Hagai Levin, head of the medical team assigned to the hostages’ families.
“[It’s] It is necessary to maintain a calm approach and not rush to fix everything at once, but gradually, over time and in an appropriate manner,” Levin said.
“In terms of physical activity, we must act according to the same principles, as well as in matters of mental health. In broader aspects, such as in dental care, diseases cannot always be treated adequately in hospitals,” he added.