Christian Alexander Pean, a fourth-year medical student in New York City, had been anxiously texting his father in Houston throughout the morning to inquire about his younger brother, Alan Christopher Pean, a patient at St. Joseph Medical Center in Texas. The night before, on August 26, Alan had called his parents to tell them he was in the middle of a panic attack.
"We knew it was an acute mental health crisis," Christian told Truthout. Alan's parents implored their son to seek help, so Alan, a student at the University of Houston, drove himself to the hospital. While in the parking lot, he experienced a severe mental health episode and crashed into multiple parked cars. He was treated for possible injuries in the emergency room, and officially admitted to the hospital early the next morning, when he was transferred to the medical psychiatric ward on the eighth floor.
Extreme poverty, stress, and impeded access to proper nutrition, prenatal care and clean water have contributed to a rising mortality rate amongst infants and mothers in Gaza.
Officials portray hunger strikes as crimes rather than as protests of last resort, but Guantánamo detainees, Palestinian political prisoners and Chicagoans challenging the closure of a local school see hunger strikes as the best way to challenge the status quo.