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Doctors in Gaza describe hospitals' desperation for supplies, fuel

A pediatrician in northern Gaza tells Scripps News his hospital is nearly out of fuel and children on ventilators might instantly die.
Doctors in Gaza describe desperation for supplies for injured patients
Posted at 2:34 PM, Nov 08, 2023

From his home in suburban Chicago, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, the president of international nonprofit MedGlobal, constantly tries to get ahold of his eight colleagues in Gaza.

On Tuesday, Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, the head of pediatrics at the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza, ultimately picked up and told Scripps News his hospital is on the verge of running out of fuel — meaning many children currently hooked up to ventilators might instantly die.

"He's asking that the U.N. come and make sure that his hospital is not used for any other means, but they need fuel," said Sahloul who helped with translation. 

In recent weeks, Israel has allowed a limited number of humanitarian trucks to enter Gaza from Egypt. But so far Israel has refused to allow fuel, citing concerns that Hamas would seize it. Hamas is also accused of stockpiling vast quantities of fuel.

On the phone, Dr. Abu Safiya also explained that he's using vinegar and honey instead of sterilization, and that he has run out of antibiotics and anesthetics.

"They try to attract the attention of the child by, you know, talking to them so they can perform the surgery because they don't have anesthesia," said Sahloul. 

Sahloul connected Scripps News with another Gaza colleague, Rajaa Musleh, the country representative for MedGlobal Gaza. She's sheltering at Al-Shifa Hospital alongside 50,000 other refugees after she says her house was bombed and she lost two family members.

"My family consists of more than 40 persons with children, girls, women and we don't have a home now," Musleh told Scripps News.

She says that in recent days Al-Shifa hospital has been receiving around 100 dead bodies every 24 hours.

"Every day we receive here at Shifa hospital, more than 100 persons killed. And half of these persons are women and children," she said. 

Sahloul says his friends and colleagues in Gaza are true heroes — and the world should recognize their humanity and listen to their plight.

"When you hear that there are kids who are dying because there's no oxygen for them, because there's no electricity and this is something that we take for granted here, it is not right. It is not moral," said Sahloul. 

SEE MORE: UNICEF director: Gaza on the verge of a 'catastrophe'


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