Palestinians are dying in hospitals, doctors estimate 60,000 injured survivors

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A U.N. health emergencies expert said Wednesday that Palestinians are dying every day in Gaza's remaining hospitals, which are unable to treat an estimated 60,000 wounded and hundreds injured daily in Israeli military attacks. can do. The International Rescue Committee described the situation in Gaza's hospitals as the worst it has ever seen.

Two health professionals who recently left Gaza hospitals after working for weeks there said doctors are overwhelmed trying to save the lives of thousands of injured people amid collapsing hospitals that have suddenly turned into refugee camps.

The World Health Organization's Sean Casey, who recently left Gaza after a five-week effort to bring more staff and supplies to the territory's 16 partially functioning hospitals, told a United Nations news conference that he A truly appalling situation has been witnessed. The system collapsed day by day.

Al-Shifa hospital, once Gaza's leading hospital with 700 beds, is now limited to treating only emergency trauma victims and is overcrowded with thousands of people who have fled their homes, he said, and is no longer operating. Living in rooms, corridors and stairs.

Casey said there were "literally five or six doctors or nurses" seeing hundreds of patients a day, most of them with life-threatening injuries, and "there were so many patients on the floor that you could see someone on their hands or feet." Could hardly move without stepping on it."

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Since Israel declared war on Hamas following surprise attacks in the south of the country on October 7, it has repeatedly accused the Islamic militant group of using Gaza hospitals for military activities. It exposed Al-Shifa in Gaza City and said that Hamas is hiding Command Center and Bunker Under the huge grounds of the hospital. In late November, the Israeli military disclosed what it claimed Hamas military facility Under the hospital.

Casey said he was able to reach al-Shifa three times with deliveries of medical supplies, fuel and food, but once it took 12 days due to Israeli refusal, primarily for security or operational reasons.

He said the situation at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City is also serious.

"I saw patients who were lying on church pews, basically waiting to die, in a hospital that had no fuel, no electricity, no water, very few medical supplies and only a doctor to care for them. There were a handful of employees left," she said.

Casey said last week he visited the main hospital, Nasser Medical Complex khan younisWhich is at 200% of its bed capacity and only 30% staffed, so "patients are everywhere, in the corridors, on the floor."

"I went to the burn unit where a doctor was taking care of 100 burn patients," he said.

till in Rafa in the south Near the Egyptian border, where Israel has urged Gazans to relocate, Casey said the population has swelled to nearly a million from 270,000 a few weeks ago, and health facilities in the city are struggling to cope with the massive influx of displaced people. Are not.

Historically Gaza had a strong health system with 36 hospitals, 25,000 health workers and many specialists, he said, but 85% of the territory's 2.3 million people are now displaced, and this includes health workers, doctors, nurses, surgeons. And administrative staff are included.

Casey said many of these medical professionals are in shelters under plastic sheets on the streets in Rafah, not in hospitals. A hospital director told him that his plastic surgeon could not perform surgery because he was collecting firewood to cook food for his family.

Casey said the first and most important thing is a ceasefire and security needed to help the thousands of wounded Gazans and those suffering health problems, but that is not enough.

“It's really the overall package,” he said, adding that medical supplies first need to overcome roadblocks and inspections and get into Gaza, and then they need to reach the hospitals where they are needed.

But without health workers, medical supplies and fuel to run generators in hospitals and health facilities, "you can't do surgeries, you can't provide postoperative care," he said.

Casey said the World Health Organization is trying to mobilize international emergency medical teams to support Gaza hospitals and provide care. It has also supported the establishment of several field hospitals in the last six weeks, he said.

"The number of medical evacuations going out of the Gaza Strip is very limited," he said. “We know there are thousands of people who would benefit from high-level care that can no longer be provided within the Gaza Strip,” including cancer patients and people with complex injuries.

“People are dying every day,” Casey said. "I've seen children dying on floors full of shrapnel because the emergency department doesn't have supplies, and the health care workers... aren't there to take care of them."

Speaking at another press briefing, Dr. Seema Jilani, a pediatrician and senior technical adviser to the International Rescue Committee for Emergency Health, said she had gone to Gaza for two weeks in support of medical aid for Palestinians and what she saw That was "sad". Scenes out of a nightmare.

Jilani, who previously worked in hotspots including Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, said, "In my experience working in conflict zones around the world, this is the most extreme situation I have seen in terms of scale, severity of injuries, number of children." Have seen." Have suffered hardships that have nothing to do with it.”

Jilani worked in the emergency room of Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, the only hospital in the central area of ​​Gaza. On his first day, he said, he tried to save a nearly 1-year-old boy, whose right arm and right leg were blown off, without any necessary medicine. Next to him was a dying man, "flies... were already feasting on him," he said.

Jilani said that treated injured children From painful dismemberment to severe burns, sometimes seeing smoke from nearby Israeli bombings. "And one day a bullet actually passed the intensive care unit."

After he left, the hospital ran out of fuel and the lights went off, Jilani said. She doesn't know how the babies she treated are faring, or whether they were evacuated.

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