Conflicts & War

Hospitals in Gaza: no anesthetics and corridors overflowing with wounded patients

Jerusalem, Oct 21 (EFE).- Surgeries performed without anesthesia and in the corridors of hospitals is the daily life of the remaining hospitals in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, controlled by the Islamist group Hamas and subject to ongoing Israeli bombardment that on Saturday entered its fifteenth day.

“Those who may have a hope of life are being operated on, others are left to fend for themselves,” Medhat Abbas, a doctor who is also the head of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, told EFE by telephone from one of the enclave’s hospitals.

With little water, electricity, fuel or Internet, night shifts are a challenge as doctors are forced to use lights from their cell phones to see in the operating rooms.

“Without a doubt, what is most needed is fuel, medical supplies and drinking water,” said Abbas, who noted that they have access to water that is not fit to drink because the hospital has several wells, but it is so salty that they only use it to wash patients.

The lack of drinking water is of particular concern to international organizations such as Save the Children, which has highlighted the “risk of dehydration” for children and the risk of contracting diseases transmitted by contaminated water.

In addition, at least 5,500 women are due to give birth next month in the Palestinian enclave, where the situation shows no signs of improving amid Israeli preparations for a land incursion in retaliation for the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas’ armed wing that left 1,400 dead in Israel.

The humanitarian aid, including food and medicine, that entered Gaza on Saturday through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, the only way out since the other crossings lead to Israel, is no more than a temporary measure, as only 20 trucks of aid were allowed in for a population of more than 2 million, more than a million of whom are displaced in the south of the enclave.

In a related development, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said this week that it had transferred 60 kidney failure patients from northern Gaza to southern Gaza because of the shelling, despite the fact that this puts pressure on the existing dialysis machines in the southern part of the Strip, which are operating 24 hours a day.

Hamas warned that if these machines stopped working due to fuel and electricity shortages, it would be a death sentence for patients in need of dialysis.

At least five clinics are completely out of service due to lack of supplies and airstrikes in Gaza, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health: al Durha Children’s Hospital, al Karama Hospital, al Wafa Hospital and the Rehabilitation Hospital.

In fifteen days of war between Israel and Hamas, at least 4,469 people have died in Gaza, more than 70% of them children, women and the elderly, and there are also 14,000 wounded from airstrikes, according to Hamas figures. The situation is likely to worsen with the announced Israeli ground intervention in the enclave, which will undoubtedly further deteriorate conditions in hospitals.EFE



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