“The entire health system around us is collapsing.” Doctors say Gaza is on the brink

Surgeons at Al-Shifa Hospital are on duty without painkillerssaid Christos Christou, international president of Doctors Without Borders. Members of the Doctors Without Borders team say they heard “wounded patients screaming in pain.”

Al-Shifa is currently working at more than 600 percent Overcapacity, said Director General Muhammad Abu Salmiya in an editorial published in The lancet on October 18. On the same day, Abu Salmiya told the Associated Press that “the hospital’s generators would run out within hours.”

Chris Hanger, an ICRC spokesman, told WIRED that surgeons at Al-Shifa Hospital were working around the clock to treat the wounded. “They told us that the whole system is down as they try to triage patients, but there is no way to get the number of victims under control,” he says. “All operating rooms are occupied.”

The Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip receives “mostly burned-out corpses, corpses full of shrapnel, mutilated bodies of women and children,” says Sahloul, who is in regular contact with Hussam Abu Safiya, MedGlobal’s chief doctor in the northern Gaza Strip. Almost all of their victims are women and children, says Sahloul.

Another concern is that the sheer number of bodies could lead to a disease outbreak. “The hospital is full of corpses,” says Sahloul. Abu Safiya, the doctor working in the northern Gaza Strip, fears that rotting corpses could contaminate the water and cause a disease outbreak.

On October 18, all five sewage treatment plants in Gaza were destroyed had been forced to close According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there is an increased risk of water-borne diseases due to a lack of electricity. Al-Shifa Hospital is Bodies buried in mass graves.

Because resources are limited, caring for the most seriously injured people is a priority. This means patients who need ongoing treatment for cancer and other illnesses can no longer receive care. The Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital is located south of Gaza City shortly before closingThis means that all 9,000 cancer patients in Gaza will remain without care. “Many of these people will die,” says Sahloul. “Not because of the bombing, but because of the lack of access to vital medicines.”

Following US President Joe Biden’s talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it was announced on October 19 that 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid supplies would be allowed to cross the Egypt-Gaza border, carrying food, water and medical supplies. According to the White House, assistance will not begin until Friday at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Gaza’s health system will continue to collapse and the death toll will continue to rise. The hospitals are so overloaded that doctors are unable to prevent patients from dying, says Abu-Sittah. “They’re just an emergency room that people come to, and if they want to survive, they survive, and if they don’t, they’re dead.”

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