Creating new perspectives since 2009

Gaza hospital corridors crowded with wounded as doctors operate without anaesthetics

November 1, 2023 at 9:05 am

Injured Palestinians including children wait in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital to be treated with limited resources as Israeli attacks continue on the 25th day in Deir al Balah, Gaza on October 21, 2023 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency

The corridors of Al-Shifa Medical Complex in the centre of Gaza City have been converted into trauma rooms for many people wounded by Israeli bombs. Some doctors are being forced to operate in corridors and rooms without anaesthetics, as supplies of drugs and medical disposables dwindle.

For 25 days, the Israeli army has been waging a devastating war on the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding tens of thousands of Palestinians, most of them civilians, and many of them women and children. The humanitarian situation is catastrophic.

One consultant surgeon, the director of international cooperation in the Palestinian Ministry of Health, told Anadolu news agency that such scenes have become normal in the hospitals of the Gaza Strip and Al-Shifa Medical Complex. “As you can see, this place has become a recovery room for patients because there are no empty beds in the inpatient units,” explained Marwan Abu Saada. “This is difficult and tough for us in light of the current circumstances, as patients are left in the corridors after undergoing surgery due to the overcrowding of the main recovery room.”

He pointed out that there is not a single empty bed in the inpatient units. “We are at full capacity in the recovery rooms. More than 800 wounded people are lying on treatment beds, in addition to the maternity, preterm, dialysis and emergency wards being filled with patients.”

READ: Palestinian Americans fundraise for Gaza, as aid groups receive record donations

The ministry cannot discharge patients from emergency departments due to the deterioration of the security situation as a result of the ongoing Israeli bombing and the continuous influx of wounded people.

“There is major pressure on medical personnel, but the greatest pressure comes from the lack of supplies, medicines, beds, medical disposables and equipment necessary for intensive care,” said Abu Saada. “Running out of fuel threatens to cause a major disaster, especially for patients in intensive care, nurseries, dialysis and operations.”

He added that fuel is expected to run out some time today unless supplies are allowed into the Gaza Strip. “If fuel is blocked, the health system in the largest hospital in Palestine will fail, and we will condemn our patients to a slow death.”

He noted that the shortage of some items such as antibiotics has a direct negative effect on treatment. “The wounds we are seeing are serious and contain dirt, projectiles and burns and require specific types of antibiotics that are not available in the local market or in hospitals.” The consultant suggested that patients must be evacuated to Egypt, because the hospital’s ability to receive other patients has become very limited.