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Israel bans delivery of anaesthesia gas to Gaza hospitals

File photo of Palestinian doctors performing a surgery at the Abu Yousef Al Najjar hospital in Rafah city, Gaza Strip, on April,15, 2012 [Eyad Al Baba / ApaImages]
File photo of Palestinian doctors performing a surgery at the Abu Yousef Al Najjar hospital in Rafah city, Gaza Strip, on April,15, 2012 [Eyad Al Baba / ApaImages]

Israel has banned anaesthetic gas from entering the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Ministry of Health revealed yesterday.

This is the third time that the occupation has prevented Nitrous Oxide (nitrox) gas, which is used for patients during surgery, from entering the besieged enclave, the ministry’s spokesman, Ashraf Al-Qidra, said. The ban means a number of urgent medical procedures have now been halted, he explained.

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There are currently 200 patients awaiting urgent medical treatment in Gaza’s hospitals, Al-Qidra said.

In addition, he said, their healthcare sector in Gaza needs more than 4,000 kilogrammes of Nitrous Oxide each year, noting that the Israeli occupation rations the entry of the gas.

He urged international organisations to put pressure on the Israeli occupation in order to resume the entry of the vital gas to allow surgical operations to continue.

UPDATE: Following international pressure, Israel has allowed a shipment of nitrous oxide into Gaza, but then closed the Kerem Shalom crossing for all other imports to and exports from Gaza.

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  • mccragj1

    All these years of doing anesthesia, I’ve never come across a surgery that would have been cancelled because of no nitrous. Its a nice adjunct but certainly not vital.

    • wjshelton

      Are you working under ideal conditions? The doctors in Gaza most certainly are not. Perhaps that should enter into your equation…

      • mccragj1

        If you want to talk about austere conditions, just talk to an army CRNA who is part of a FST. Not much nitrous needed there. Nitrous is to anesthesia what air conditioning is to a car. Nice to have but certainly not necessary. Plus, if you hit a nitrous tank with a bullet, it blows up spectacularly. Maybe that’s what they want it for…..

        • wjshelton

          You didn’t answer my question.I take it the answer is yes, you are working under ideal conditions. Now convince me you know anything about conditions in Gaza.

    • Lady Crumpsall

      I seem to recall Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) being used to put people to sleep. It was used most frequently at dental surgeries. But in the west we use other drugs now. They don’t have that freedom of choice in Gaza and the illegally occupied territories.

      • mccragj1

        Nitrous oxide does not induce general anesthesia, it is an adjunct which can reduce the amount of other gases that you use. By itself, it will take the edge off, make you light headed, but thats it. However, it is highly flammable so care must be taken to prevent explosions.

    • Pemba Sherpa

      have you been working in gaza all your years?

  • Mike Abramov

    HHHMMM….This tells me that the use of Nitrous Oxide in Gaza is being used for sinister purposes rather than for medical reasons.

    • Octoberfurst

      Riiiight. And that sinister purpose would be—-what? Keeping people from being in agony during surgery?

      • Mike Abramov

        No – it may well be used for the components of explosives instead.

        For many years, the Israelis controlled the volume of cement and building materials entering Gaza. Why? Only in the 2014 conflict did it emerge that building materials were used for the construction of 22 tunnels leading in to Israel. This is why the re-building of homes in Gaza never gets done.

        I have great sympathy for the residents of Gaza. As for Hamas, their ‘raison-detre’ is terrorism and that needs money and materials.

        Is that what you want for the people of Gaza?

        • Penny Lane

          Hamas has been on ceasefire with Israel for several years. There are other groups that they can’t control so Hamas is attacked instead. Plus Israel bombs hospitals, schools, uses children as human shields, and even stops children on their way to school walking within one mile of the border with Israel on Gazan land. Not forgetting the harassment of fishermen, the bombing of an airport paid for by the European Union and a blockade of non-military goods such as medicines and food and even prefabricated building materials which can’t be used for any other purpose than building above ground.

          • Mike Abramov

            I am afraid your reply is full or errors. Hamas is behind the daily firing of rockets in to southern Israel. Hamas also broke the two ceasefires in the 2014 war. Israel has never deliberately targeted hospitals or schools, but Hamas does use civilian sites to fire their rockets in to Israel..

            They do not harass the fisherman without cause. The seas around Gaza are used as points to bring in guns and military equipment as well as fish. Recently, Israel has extended the fishing limits from 3 miles to 6 miles.

            There is nothing wrong in supporting the people of Gaza, but it is naive to support Hamas.

          • Trubble Maker

            Hamas was created SPECIFICALLY because Israel kept terrorising the Palestinians. The solution is simple, go back to the pre ’67 borders and the war will be ended. Of course, Israel has absolutely no intention of allowing a two-state solution just as it has ABSOLUTELY no intention of allowing a one-state solution. Israel has made it abundantly clear that it wants to keep the status quo. >:(

          • Mike Abramov

            I ma afraid you are wrong. Hamas was formed to provide solidarity with the Sunni Palestinians in contrast to the PA which is Shiite.

            If and when the Palestinians gain autonomy, the firs crisis will be the in-fighting between Hamas and the PA. This is why the elections in the West Bank were postponed. There was a serious threat of Hamas infiltration in the elections.

    • Penny Lane

      Like what? Nitrous Oxide is otherwise known as Laughing gas. What other purpose can it have? I can’t see them making hippy crack from it.

  • James Mendelsohn

    Gaza’s greatest need is for freedom from Hamas.

    • Giampiero Zucchelli

      Perhaps you choose to forget that Hamas has been repeatedly voted in democratic elections. just because you don’t like the results.

      • ZPT205

        Perhaps you choose to forget that Hamas won one democratic election with a narrow plurality, then destroyed the main opposition party in a bloody coup and hasn’t allowed free elections in close to a decade.

      • James Mendelsohn

        The last elections were over 10 years ago!

      • robert affinity

        Not about that. About Hamas stealing aid for Gazans, stealing electricity and cement to build terror tunnels instead of infrastructure etc…

        • Trubble Maker

          …and ALL that tunnel material would have build HOW MANY houses?

    • Yitzhak Finnegan

      True enough. But it is hardly a feather in Israel’s cap for them to enact such a deplorable edict. Isn’t her moral defense supposed to be “We are the civilized ones”?

      • James Mendelsohn

        See the comments of mccragj1 below. In any case, Israel has now allowed a delivery.

  • Sherman Kaplitz

    This article is unprofessional, misleading, and borderline libelous. Not once did you cite a single source/document from the Israeli government in your article, but rather spiced up your rant by changing Nitrous Oxide to anaesthetic gas, and ran on with a statement from a single source, which you never provided a link to (i.e. the actual document/announcement from this individual regarding this issue). Apart from these two nauseatingly misleading issues, you never once provided a link to the order from the Israeli government banning NO2 importation into Palestine. If you’d like to sound like a quasi-professional journalist, i’d suggest citing AND providing links to legitimate sources from both sides/parties on these issues (from BOTH the Israeli govt AND Palestinian govt in this example) in your articles, avoid the use of misleading terminology in your headlines, and not pollute one statement with a sheet of libelous word sperm.

    • SonsOfNatTurner

      The fact that you think the Racist, Zionist, Terrorist, Occupying, Colonizing, Brutalizing, Murderous, Genocidal, War Mongering, Apartheid State of Israel can be “libeled” speaks volumes about your bias and lack of credibility.

      • Helen4Yemen

        Are you sure you are not Malcolm back with us again in the flesh.
        You sound like him.

        • SonsOfNatTurner

          That is too high a compliment to give to someone who admired and still tries to emulate the character, courage and conviction of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz but could never rival his intellectual brilliance and prophetic wisdom. But thank you. “The struggle is eternal” – Ella Baker.

      • Mike Abramov

        I am sure you have missed few adjectives in your diatribe. Anyway, when i first noted your comments, I thought you were referring to Syria because the only accusation that you have got correct is Zionist.

        • SonsOfNatTurner

          The fact that you posited the vile and despicable notion that Israel was justified for its inhumane act of depriving Gaza Nitrous Oxide due to the possibility of it being used for “sinister purposes” rendered anything else you had to say not worth dignifying with a comment. I suggest in the future when you are tempted to reduce the mental masturbation in your head to writing, you stop and remind yourself that most of the world are not degenerate amoral apologist like you.

          • Mike Abramov

            That was a rather pompous reply.

            For the last 8 years I have tried to fathom why of all the 23 states/countries in the ME and N. Africa why Israel gets so much bad press.

            Is it because it is the Jewish State? Yes.
            Is it because the press are both scared and prohibited to do reports on the Assad regime, the Saudi regime, the Iranian caliphate and the nightmare that is Iraq? Yes.

            Is it because the regime in Yemen is arresting all it’s journalists and anti-government protesters? Yes.

            Or, is it that a journalist can enter Israel freely, take Highway 90 to the West Bank, compile an avalanche of negative press about Israel, enjoy the food and the weather and then go home unmolested by the security forces?

            This is the Israel that have never willingly started a war. This is the Israel that is taking in 100 Syrian orphans. This is the Israel that has tried to reach a settlement with the Palestinians, but they are asking too much to meet a peaceful agreement. Hence the strife between the two factions. Compared to Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt, Israel is a model democracy.

            Your eloquent response please.

          • ๑Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ๑*.Joni.*๑Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ๑

            hasbara troll the usual anti semitic accusation and denile of any wrong doing.

          • Mike Abramov

            Are you not able to give me proper reply?

    • Pemba Sherpa

      shut your face you zionist pig

  • Israel has set another low!!

  • Nina Ambrose

    This is immoral

    • Pemba Sherpa

      and genocidal and apartheid and fascist
      israel has not right to exist

  • Doug_Thomson

    This is strange because Nitrous Oxide generally hasn’t been used as an anesthetic for a long, long time. Isoflurane, sevoflurane fentanyl, ketamine or other opiates are cheaper, easy to obtain better and safer for the patient and the environment. (Nitrous Oxide is a greenhouse gas.) There are two possible explanations. 1. The only anesthetic they can get into Gaza is this ancient and rather nasty gas. 2. The story is spurious. Now as follow-up stories suggest that Israel has allowed shipments after world wide outcry, so I lean to the former argument. I would love to hear an authoritative answer.

    • Pemba Sherpa

      no should go with the very first argument

  • somebodyyouknow

    if they wont overthrow hamas it will get worse and worse and worse!
    israelis dont want conflict (yes even the right wing) but if they wont stop with the attacks israel wont stop either!

    • Pemba Sherpa

      whats the exact connection between the article and your idiotic comment?
      dont say you are trying to sanitize illegal occupation, apartheid and genocide, are you, you little vermin???

  • Pemba Sherpa

    the only democracy in the middle east hahaha