Gaza's doctors struggle to save hospital's massacre survivors

AP , Wednesday 18 Oct 2023

Doctors in Gaza City faced with dwindling medical supplies performed surgery on hospital floors, often without anaesthesia, in a desperate bid to save badly wounded victims of a Israeli massive blast that killed hundreds of Palestinians sheltering in a nearby hospital amid Israeli bombings and a blockade of the territory.

A woman reacts while holding a pillow as she stands amidst debris outside the site of the Ahli Arab Hospital in central Gaza on October 18, 2023. AFP


 At least 500 people were killed, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said.

The explosion at the al-Ahli Hospital on Tuesday night left gruesome scenes. Hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge in al-Ahli and other hospitals in Gaza City, hoping they would be spared Israeli bombardment.

Video that The Associated Press confirmed was from the hospital showed the hospital grounds strewn with torn bodies, many of them young children, as fire engulfed the building. The grass was strewn with blankets, school backpacks and other belongings. On Wednesday morning the blast scene was littered with charred cars and the ground was blackened by debris.

Ambulances and private cars rushed some 350 casualties to Gaza City’s main hospital, al-Shifa, which was already overwhelmed with wounded from other strikes, said its director, Mohammed Abu Selmia.

Victims arrived with gruesome injuries, Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said. Some were decapitated, disembowelled, or missing limbs.

Doctors in the overwhelmed hospital resorted to performing surgery on the floor and in the halls, mostly without anaesthesia.

“We need equipment, we need medicine, we need beds, we need anaesthesia, we need everything,” Abu Selmia said. He warned that fuel for the hospital’s generators would run out within hours, forcing a complete shutdown, unless supplies enter the Gaza Strip.

Gaza Strip, which has been under a complete siege since Hamas’ attack last week. Hundreds of thousands of increasingly desperate people were searching for bread and water.

Before the al-Alhi Hospital deaths, Israeli strikes on Gaza killed at least 2,778 people and wounded 9,700, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and nearly two-thirds of those killed were children. Another 1,200 people across Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble, alive or dead, health authorities said.

More than 1 million Palestinians have fled their homes — roughly half of Gaza’s population — and 60% are now in the approximately 14-kilometer (8-mile) long area south of the evacuation zone, the UN said.


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