Gaza: hospitals overwhelmed

The carnage in Lebanon has pushed Gaza from the headlines. But lest we forget… From Reuters, Aug. 8:

Hospitals in the Gaza Strip have seen a significant increase in war casualties with severe injuries over the past month and are running out of medical supplies, British medical aid agency Merlin said today.

After a recent attack in Gaza City, 75 per cent of war-wounded patients admitted at one hospital needed amputations, Merlin’s emergency assessment team was told.

In the past six weeks, doctors at this hospital have carried out amputations on more than 50 patients and have been forced to cancel 800 routine operations in order to deal with the rising number of emergency cases.

Merlin’s team also visited a hospital in Rafah – an area that has suffered heavily from Israeli incursions – which reported receiving casualties every day since 50 tanks moved into the town’s disused airport last week.

British nurse Paula Sansom, who led Merlin’s assessment in Gaza, said: “At the hospital in Rafah, many casualties they receive have chest injuries but doctors are struggling with a lack of surgical instrument sets.

“Power supply is also a major constraint: the hospital only receives four hours of mains electricity a day, and the back up generator is not sufficient for a busy emergency facility. The doctors have to choose between running the operating theatre or the X-ray machine.

“These hospitals in Gaza urgently need specialist nurses to assist staff in intensive care units, as well as surgical and diagnostic equipment and supplies. Merlin is aiming to provide this support as soon as possible.”

In Lebanon, Merlin is aiming to provide mobile medical teams for thousands of displaced people who have moved to Beirut and the Mount Lebanon region and are sheltering in schools or with local families. Working with local agencies, Merlin also aims to distribute medical supplies, hygiene kits and clean water.

See our last posts on the Israel/Palestine and the Gaza Strip.