Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital’s emergency department has been devastated by Israeli bombardments and is “a blood bath” which is “in need of resuscitation”, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said after a team from the global health body and other United Nations agencies delivered medical supplies to the hospital. Al-Shifa is the largest medical facility in the Palestinian territory.
In a statement the WHO said that “tens of thousands of displaced people are using the hospital building and grounds for shelter. There is a severe shortage of drinking water and food. The emergency department is a bloodbath, with hundreds of injured patients inside, and new patients arriving every minute,” the organisation said. “Patients with trauma injuries were being sutured on the floor… (and) no pain management is available”, it added.
The hospital is functioning at a minimal scale as WHO said that “critical patients are being transferred to Al-Ahli Arab Hospital for surgeries” while operating theatres are not working due to a lack of oxygen and supplies. It is a “hospital in need of resuscitation”, WHO warned as only 30 patients can receive dialysis daily in the facility amid Israel’s attacks.
The WHO said it would reinforce Al-Shifa “in the coming weeks” in order for it to resume basic services and “up to 20 operating theatres in the hospital, as well as post-operative care services, can be activated if provided with regular supplies of fuel, oxygen, medicines, food, and water.”
State of health facilities in Gaza amid war
All health infrastructure in the Gaza strip has been hard hit by bombardments carried out by the Israeli army since the October 7 attack by Hamas which saw about 1,140 people killed, mostly civilians, and 240 hostages taken. Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza has killed 18,800 people, mostly women and children.
Tel Aviv has long accused Hamas of running command centres below hospitals despite repeated denials from hospital officials and Hamas itself. In the northern region of Gaza Strip, only Al-Ahli Arab hospital is “partially functioning”, while three facilities- Al-Shifa, Al Awda and Al Sahaba Medical Complex -are functioning at a minimum.
Before the war, there were 24 operational facilities, it was reported.