Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Every day, doctors and nurses in Gaza are faced with the impossible decision of choosing who lives and who dies. The hospitals in Gaza are on the brink of collapse due to a lack of electricity and basic supplies, leaving the medical staff to make snap decisions about ventilators, resuscitation, and medical treatment. The sound of small children undergoing amputations or brain surgeries without anesthesia or clean water fills the halls. Veterans of wartime medicine in Gaza say that the conditions are the worst they have ever seen, with entire apartment blocks, schools, and hospitals being destroyed by Israeli bombardment. The medical teams are exhausted, both physically and psychologically. Some doctors stay in the hospital for a whole week, witnessing the deaths and injuries of their own families. The siege imposed by Israel has created extreme shortages of fuel, food, water, medicine, and other basic goods. The lack of electricity has forced many hospitals to shut down, and those that remain open are only able to provide minimal care. The shortage of fresh water supplies and iodine has left patients with filthy wounds and maggots. Doctors and nurses struggle to keep their patients alive with what little supplies they have. Patients in critical condition are often not resuscitated, as medical staff focus on those with a greater chance of survival. Anesthesia has also been in short supply for weeks, making surgeries even more difficult. On top of all this, hospitals have become temporary orphanages as children arrive after losing their entire families in the war. Hospitals are running out of fuel to preserve and operate, putting even more pressure on the remaining functioning hospitals. The situation is dire, with explosions near hospitals and attacks on medical facilities adding to the chaos. The lack of electricity has made the heat unbearable, causing patients’ wounds to fester. With food scarcity, medical staff often eat only one meal a day and sleep in hallways with displaced people seeking refuge in hospitals. These difficult decisions are being made by medical staff who feel that it is the fault of humankind for failing to provide the continuous medical aid they desperately need. The hospital doors remain open, but the care they can provide is minimal.

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