Seeking improvised solutions
Photo: AFP

Gazan doctor: People dying due to lack of equipment

Shifa Hospital treating hundreds of patients since start of Operation Cast Lead. Physicians complain of shortage of medications, operating rooms and beds. 'This is a catastrophic situation. The corridors are filled with injured people, but we won't let anyone die without a battle,' hospital manager tells Ynet

There are no IV units, no syringes, and every square meter is used for treating the injured, but the medical staff at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, which has been working nonstop since the Israel Defense Forces operation was launched, has no plans to give up.


"This is a catastrophic situation. All the corridors, operating rooms and trauma rooms are filled with injured people, but we won't let anyone die without a battle," the hospital's manager, Dr. Hassan Khaled, told Ynet on Tuesday afternoon.


Khaled explained that the biggest struggle was against the shortage of basic tools and the medical team's exhaustion.


"We have enough doctors, and they have a lot of experience with the Israeli aggressiveness. The latest offensive is only part of an ongoing offensive we have been subject to for 12 months now. We are exhausted, we a critical need for medicines and equipment, but the crossings are closed.


He added that "the UN and the World Bank donated 460 different types of essential medications, but the governments in Israel and Ramallah prevented the delivery of most of them. At the moment our reservoirs are almost nonexistent.


"Opening a crossing here and a crossing there is insufficient. It won't be enough to meet the needs. We need much, much more."


Injured evacuated (Photo: AP)


And without medications, the hospital is forced to improvise solutions. "We've turned every available room into a trauma room and opened a new operating room in addition to the six we already have," said Khaled.


"We sent all the people who were lightly injured home, and even some who sustained moderate wounds, and transferred close to 40 patients to Egypt. We also asked the Israeli authorities to take in some patients but they refused."


Dr. Muaya Hasnin, one of the hospital's physicians, accompanied several patients on their way to receive medical treatment in Egypt.


"We're experiencing a disaster. People are dying due to lack of equipment," he said. "The equipment will last for a week or two, but not more. I don’t know what we'll be able to do if the offensive continues."


'Bombing houses and universities is insane'

Despite the feeling of helplessness, Shifa's manager reported that all the doctors and nurses are willing to help. "The alternative is being Israel's slave, and that will never happen," Dr. khaled said.


"You, the Israelis, are the strongest people in the world. Bombing houses, universities and police stations is insane," said Khaled.


"You're fooling yourselves when you say Hamas is a big threat to Israel. Hamas is only a representative of the Palestinian people. These strikes will never oppress Hamas. You are asking us to forget we are humans and to forget we have a right to live. We won't give up, no matter how many people are injured."


Khaled concluded by stressing the great differences between Israel and Gaza: "When Qassams land in Israel, the death toll reaches maybe two or three Israelis. But your response is 100 tons of bombs landing over several kilometers, and that's a crime.


"In the past day, 22 children and nine women arrived in the hospital and died of their wounds. Some 150 children and 73 women were injured, and all this only in the last 24 hours."


פרסום ראשון: 12.31.08, 00:39
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