The only thing worse than the screams of a patient undergoing surgery without enough anesthesia are the terror-stricken faces of those awaiting their turn, a 51-year-old orthopedic surgeon says.
When the Israeli bombing intensifies and the wounded swamp the Gaza City hospitals where Dr. Nidal Abed works, he treats patients wherever he can — on the floor, in the corridors, in rooms crammed with 10 patients instead of two. Without enough medical supplies, Abed makes do with whatever he can find – clothes for bandages, vinegar for antiseptic, sewing needles for surgical ones.
Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are nearing collapse under the Israeli blockade that cut power and deliveries of food and other necessities to the territory. They lack clean water. They are running out of basic items for easing pain and preventing infections. Fuel for their generators is dwindling.
Israel began its bombing campaign after Hamas militants surged across the border on Oct. 7 and killed over 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and abducted more than 200 others. Israel’s offensive has devastated neighborhoods, shuttered five hospitals, killed thousands and wounded more people than its remaining health facilities can handle.
“We have a shortage of everything, and we are dealing with very complex surgeries,” Abed, who works with Doctors Without Borders, told The Associated Press from Al Quds Hospital. The medical center is still treating hundreds of patients in defiance of an evacuation order the Israeli military gave Friday. Some 10,000 Palestinians displaced by the bombing have also taken refuge in the hospital compound.
“These people are all terrified, and so am I,” the surgeon said. “But there is no way we’ll evacuate.” [Continue reading…]