15 June 2024
Doctor in Gaza: We let patients scream for hours because of lack of anesthesia 0

Doctor in Gaza: We let patients scream for hours because of lack of anesthesia 0

(Dan Tri) - Lacking medical supplies, doctors across Gaza say they have to operate on patients without pain-relieving anesthetics, and do not even accept people with chronic diseases.

(Dan Tri) – Lacking medical supplies, doctors across Gaza say they have to operate on patients without pain-relieving anesthetics, and do not even accept people with chronic diseases.

An injured man lies on a bed at the European Gaza hospital at the end of December 2023 (Photo: AFP).

`Because of the lack of painkillers, we let patients scream for hours,` a doctor told the BBC.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the health system situation in Gaza has reached a level that `can no longer be described in words`, when 23 hospitals in Gaza were not operating as of January 18.

The WHO said the airstrikes and supply shortages had `strained a system that was already under-resourced`.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that Hamas `systematically uses hospitals and medical centers for terrorist activities`.

Hospitals are spread thin

Medical staff say many hospitals in Gaza are overloaded and have limited equipment.

On February 18, Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza was the latest facility to cease operations after a raid by Israeli forces.

The IDF said that at Nasser hospital, they found weapons and medicine bottles labeled with hostages’ names and photos on February 18.

Doctor in Gaza: We let patients scream for hours because of lack of anesthesia

Palestinian patients are brought to Rafah after being evacuated from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis due to the Israeli operation on February 15 (Photo: Reuters).

Staff at surrounding hospitals say Israeli activity at Nasser hospital has increased pressure on them.

Yousef al-Akkad, director of the European Gaza Hospital in the city of Khan Younis, described the current situation as `the worst we have faced since the beginning of the war`.

`The previous situation was already very serious. Do you think what will happen after receiving thousands more homeless people struggling in corridors and public areas?`, he said.

Mr. al-Akkad said his hospital did not have enough beds, so staff had to spread sheets on a metal or wooden frame and then place the patient on the floor.

Other doctors across the Gaza Strip described similar situations.

`Even if someone is in cardiac arrest or has heart problems, we still put them on the floor and start looking at them,` said Dr. Marwan al-Hams, Director of Rafah’s Martyr Mohammed Yusuf al-Najjar Hospital

Lack of medicine and supplies

Medical staff say they are struggling to work with limited supplies.

Dr al-Akkad said: `We are short of anesthetics, ICU supplies, antibiotics and finally painkillers. There are many people with severe burns… but we have no painkillers.`

Another doctor confirmed that they were having to do the surgery without using anesthesia.

Doctor in Gaza: We let patients scream for hours because of lack of anesthesia

Damage in a room after Israeli shelling at Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip on December 17, 2023 (Photo: AFP).

A group of WHO staff said they recently encountered a case of a 7-year-old girl at a European Gaza hospital with burns on 75% of her body but no painkillers.

Dr. Mohamed Salha, Acting Director of Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza, said people had to use donkeys and horses to transport patients to the hospital.

`Things became a disaster when the patient’s wound began to rot after being left open for more than 2-3 weeks,` he said.

There is no room for chronic patients

Amid the crisis in Gaza, people with chronic diseases `pay a heavy price`, doctors told the BBC.

`To be honest, we have no beds for them and no ability to monitor them,` Dr. al-Akkad said.

`Someone who previously had to do dialysis four times a week can now only do it once a week. If this person used to run 16 hours a week, now he will only do it one hour,` Mr. al-Akkad said.

Some women are even having to give birth in makeshift tents without medical assistance, with hospitals providing maternity services saying they are limited in capacity.

`Children are born but there is no milk for them. The hospital only provides one carton of milk for each child,` said Dr. Salha.

People go to the hospital when infected with the disease that is spreading in cramped and unsanitary living conditions.

Abu Khalil, 54, who had to leave his home to go to Rafah, said: `There are many diseases for which we cannot find a cure. We need to leave our homes before dawn to line up.`

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