Doctors say Gaza hospital situation dire

Ella Castle

Hospitals in Gaza are in a dire situation as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues, putting the lives of civilians and health care workers at risk. Doctors say health care facilities are overcrowded, with workers dealing with a lack of supplies to treat patients. One aid group further said the patients at […]

Hospitals in Gaza are in a dire situation as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues, putting the lives of civilians and health care workers at risk.

Doctors say health care facilities are overcrowded, with workers dealing with a lack of supplies to treat patients. One aid group further said the patients at one of its clinics are mostly pre-teens and teenagers.

Dr. Ahmad Almoqadam, who works at Al Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, told ABC News the facility has a shortage of water and medication, as well as a scarcity of blood to use for transfusions.

“There is a severe lack of blood product to cover these injured people for transfusion,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately, there’s a lack of medical supplies…so if you want to put on multiple gauzes [but] there is available one gauze, which is needed for covering a deep wound or anything and thus [will] afflict the health of the patient due to this.”

Almoqadam said patients have been admitted to in the hospital corridors without beds due to lack of available room. Still other people are sheltering at the hospital because their homes have been destroyed by air strikes.

PHOTO: A boy is treated for injuries at a hospital in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Oct.12, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue for the sixth consecutive day.

A boy is treated for injuries at a hospital in the city of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Oct.12, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continue for the sixth consecutive day.

Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

“There’s more people and the more and more injured people and they need medical help on surgeries or orthopedic intervention or intervention due to a variety of explosive injury and traumas and variety of the people who were injured,” Almoqadam said. “There is no discrimination in the types of the people.”

Almoqadam said he also is among those without a home. Returning from work on Wednesday, he found the residential building in which he’s lived his entire life had been destroyed.

The Associated Press reported that the morgue at Al Shifa hospital is overflowing. Usually, it holds about 30 bodies at a time but because of overflow, workers have had to stack corpses outside of the walk-in cooler, beneath a tent in a parking lot, under the hot sun.

Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, aka MSF) told ABC News earlier this week in a statement that a large number of patients received at one of their clinics in Gaza City were children, and that women and children overall make up a disproportionate number of patients injured by air strikes.

“Today, all of the patients we received at our clinic in Gaza City were children between 10 and 14,” Ayman Al-Djaroucha, MSF deputy project coordinator in Gaza, said Wednesday. “This is because the majority of the injured in Gaza are women and children, since they are the ones who are most often in the houses that get destroyed in the airstrikes.”

MSF issued a statement Friday calling the Israeli government’s order for civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate in the next 24 hours “outrageous.”

“We are talking about more than a million human beings,” MSF said in the statement. “‘Unprecedented’ doesn’t even cover the medical humanitarian impact of this. Gaza is being flattened, thousands of people are dying. This must stop now. We condemn Israel’s demand in the strongest possible terms.”

All of this comes as the World Health Organization warned that hospitals in the Gaza Strip are currently at their “breaking point.”

Israel declared a “complete siege” of the region earlier this week, blocking food and water and cutting off power to the area.

“Hospitals have only a few hours of electricity each day as they are forced to ration depleting fuel reserves and rely on generators to sustain the most critical functions,” the WHO said in a press release. “Even these functions will have to cease in a few days, when fuel stocks are due to run out.”

PHOTO: Palestinian children wounded in Israeli strikes are brought to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.

Palestinian children wounded in Israeli strikes are brought to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Oct. 11, 2023. Surgeon Sara Alsaqa told ABC News all the ICU beds are full, the hospital is running out of everything and they are doing 24 hour shifts with only a few hours of rest.

Ali Mahmoud/AP

The blockade has also prevented medical care and health supplies from entering Gaza, making it difficult for medical personnel to treat the sick and injured.

“The situation has also gravely disrupted the delivery of essential health services, including obstetric care, management of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and heart diseases, and treatment of common infections, as all health facilities are forced to prioritize lifesaving emergency care,” the WHO said.

Health care workers in Gaza are also at risk, according to the WHO. Since Oct. 7, 11 health care workers were killed while on duty, and 16 have been injured, the agency said.

The WHO declined to comment directly about the situation to ABC News.

ABC News’ Youri Benadjaoudi contributed to this report.

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