| The Indonesian hospital following Israels destruction Photo Abdullah Obeid via Eye on Palestine | MR Online The Indonesian hospital following Israel’s destruction. (Photo: Abdullah Obeid, via Eye on Palestine)

‘Patients will die slowly, painfully’ as Gaza hospitals stop functioning – WHO

Originally published: Palestine Chronicle on December 21, 2023 by Palestine Chronicle Staff (more by Palestine Chronicle)  | (Posted Dec 23, 2023)

In a statement on Thursday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, warned that “without medicines and other essential needs, all patients will die slowly and painfully.”

He said,

until two days ago, Al-Ahli was northern Gaza’s last hospital functioning where injured people could undergo surgery.

“But our team learned today that its operating theaters are no longer functioning due to the depletion, or complete absence, of specialists, power, fuel, water, food and medical supplies,” Ghebreyesus said.

He added “That has left north Gaza with no functional hospital. Only four hospitals operate at a minimum level, providing very limited care.”

WHO and UN partners, he explained, undertook “another high-risk joint mission” to Al Ahli Arab and Al Shifa hospitals in northern Gaza, where they delivered medicines, IV fluids, and supplies for surgery, treating the wounded, and supporting women giving birth.

“Catastrophic Conditions”

The WHO chief said his colleagues “struggled to describe the immense impact recent attacks have had on these health facilities and the catastrophic conditions remaining patients and health workers face.”

In the courtyard of Al Ahli Hospital, “bodies were placed in rows as they couldn’t be given safe and dignified burials,” he explained.

About ten health workers, all doctors, and nurses, continue to provide basic first aid, pain management, and wound care.

He said,

80 injured patients, including older people and small children, are sheltering in a church within the hospital grounds and its orthopedic section.

They included a 10-year-old girl who lost her leg and had no family left to care for her, he said.

“And an older man awaiting surgery for a gun wound to the chest he may never get, whose entire family had been killed,” he added.

Ghebreyesus said the WHO will keep striving to supply health facilities in northern Gaza.

“More than ever, a humanitarian ceasefire is needed now to reinforce and restock remaining health facilities, deliver medical services needed by thousands of injured people and those needing other essential care, and, above all, to stop the bloodshed and death,” he stressed.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 8,000 children and 6,200 women, and 52,600 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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