Doctors say malnourished patients are dying from illnesses at the Gaza hospital

Doctors from aid organizations have witnessed an unprecedented situation at the European Gaza Hospital amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

An emergency medical team, comprising of Medical Aid for Palestinians, the International Rescue Committee, and the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, has raised concerns about the dire health conditions at a hospital near the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. In their release on Monday, they reported that patients are experiencing severe malnutrition and succumbing to infections.

Surgeons have reported that they have successfully performed both vascular and orthopedic surgeries. However, not all patients were able to receive the necessary post-operative care, resulting in some unfortunate deaths. The surgeons also had to provide emergency nutritional supplies due to the negative impact of malnutrition on patient care.

“The situation is beyond comprehension,” said Dr. Konstantina Ilia Karydi, an anesthetist with the team. “Originally designed to accommodate only 200 beds, this hospital has now been stretched to provide 1,000 beds. Approximately 22,000 individuals who have been displaced from various parts of Gaza are seeking refuge in the hospital’s corridors and makeshift tents. They believe that being here offers a greater sense of safety compared to any other place.”

The team has reported that the hospital has endured extensive damage due to the ongoing conflict, resulting in a critical shortage of medical equipment, supplies, and medicine. This has greatly impacted the hospital’s ability to provide adequate care to patients.

According to Dr. Husam Basheer, an orthopedic surgeon on the team, hospitals are currently operating with limited resources.

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In a statement, he explained how they encountered a situation where they needed to perform a plate and screw procedure, a common method for bone fixation, but did not have the necessary equipment. He also mentioned instances where they faced a shortage of gauze, a fundamental supply for surgeries. Despite these challenges, they persevered and found alternative solutions. However, it is clear that the medical staff at the facility are overwhelmed by the current circumstances.

According to the team, Gaza does not have any fully functioning hospitals, and only 12 are partially functioning.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have been carrying out an operation at Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza for the past week. According to the IDF, they believe that the hospital is being utilized by Hamas terrorists to engage in and encourage terrorist activities. During the operation, 170 individuals identified as “gunmen” have been killed, and approximately 480 members affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been apprehended.

Hamas has denied allegations that it is using the hospital as a base of operations, while Gaza health officials have reported that at least five patients have died as a result of the raid.

The Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) reported that Al Amal and Nasser hospitals were unexpectedly raided by IDF troops. According to the World Health Organization, Nasser hospital is currently non-functional and mostly abandoned. The PRC stated on Monday that both staff and injured patients were compelled to evacuate from Al-Amal Hospital due to the ongoing conflict. The IDF has not yet responded to these allegations.

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Meanwhile, various organizations have been facing challenges in providing assistance to Gaza due to the alarming prediction of an impending famine in certain regions.

Israel and Egypt have imposed restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza since Hamas assumed power in 2007. Following a terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel on October 7, these restrictions have been further tightened, with authorities seeking to limit Hamas’ access to weapons.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced on Sunday that Israeli authorities have informed the U.N. that they will no longer authorize any UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza. This decision comes in the wake of heightened scrutiny on the agency, following Israel’s presentation of a dossier in late January, which alleged the involvement of 12 UNRWA staff members in a terror attack on Israel. Consequently, several countries have temporarily halted their funding to UNRWA.

According to an Israeli government spokesperson, David Mencer, the decision has been made to cease collaboration with UNRWA as they are viewed as contributing to the ongoing conflict rather than working towards its resolution. Mencer stated, “UNRWA are part of the problem, and we will now stop working with them. We are actively phasing out the use of UNRWA because they perpetuate the conflict rather than try and alleviate the conflict.”

Israeli officials have previously alleged that Hamas misappropriates aid intended for Gaza civilians and have rejected accusations that they restrict the entry of sufficient aid. They have also stated that the United Nations (U.N.), its partners, and other aid agencies have contributed to logistical difficulties, leading to a bottleneck. However, the U.N. contradicts these assertions.

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The U.N. Security Council has voted in favor of a resolution that calls for an immediate cease-fire during the remaining days of Ramadan, the holy month observed by Muslims. The resolution also demands the immediate and unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas. The vote was 14-0 in favor, with the United States abstaining. It is important to note that Israel does have a vote on the Council.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the ongoing ground operations and aerial bombardment by Israel have resulted in the deaths of at least 1,200 people in Israel and over 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Additionally, more than 73,000 Palestinians have been injured since the surprise terrorist attack by Hamas.

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