Only gauze and iodine for injured patients at field hospital

Published December 23, 2023
Palestinian medics care for an injured youth at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah following Israeli bombing, on Friday.—AFP
Palestinian medics care for an injured youth at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah following Israeli bombing, on Friday.—AFP

GAZA: All Palestinian surgeon Bashir al-Hourani has to work with in the central Gaza school where he helps run a field clinic amid Israel’s pounding offensive is gauze and disinfectant as he treats walking wounded turned away from overstretched hospitals.

“We don’t have anything else,” he said, showing a bottle of iodine he was using to wash the long operating scar running down the torso and stomach of an injured man.

“This patient should be in hospital but because of overcrowding he was transferred to the field hospital,” he said.

“We have dozens like this patient. We have children it’s hard to treat. We change their dressings one day and the next we find infection because there is no sterilisation, there are no specialised places. There are no bin bags,” he said.

Al-Sayedah Khadija School is located in Deir al-Balah, in the centre of the tiny crowded Palestinian enclave that Israeli forces have been bombarding since Oct. 7.

The war has killed more than 20,000 people according to local health authorities in Gaza and wounded 50,000 more, all while hospitals have been put out of action and medical supplies nearly exhausted.

While some aid has entered Gaza in recent weeks via Egypt, it has been hard to distribute much beyond the immediate border area and hospitals elsewhere in the enclave are barely able to function, relief agencies say.

Medicins Sans Fron­tiers, the international medical agency, said in a social media post on Friday that at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in southern Gaza “doctors are stepping over the bodies of dead children to treat other children who will die anyway”.

At the Deir al-Balah field clinic, Hourani was busy bandaging the head of Maysara Abu Telakh, a boy injured in the bombardment but discharged early from the local al-Aqsa hospital because it had more urgent cases to handle.

“They had to transfer Maysara to the field hospital, which is a school, to continue treatment ... the situation here is difficult especially with medical supplies. There’s a lack of medicine, nurses, even doctors,” said the child’s father Jihed Abu Telakh.

The family lost its home and is now staying temporarily at the field clinic while they seek another place to shelter.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2023

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