Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Al-Shifa hospital

How it’s like to work as nurse in a Gaza under the bombs?

My Mother, Dina Khoury-Nasser, just e-mailed us from Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. 01:55 am 5th August 2014

She has been there for four days now. She went with a team of medics from the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Occupied Jerusalem in response to the appeal sent out by Gaza Hospitals, who were unable to cope with the extent of carnage brought about by Israeli Terrorism.

Today was day 4 in Gaza.

The first two days were like limbo. We felt we were in Gaza but not yet feeling what was happening around.

We live in the hospital compound: eat in the compound, work in the compound, sleep in the compound. We see the injured, hear the ambulances, see the bodies and people strewn around everywhere – still it does not sink in.

Yesterday evening things started to get real when I saw a child sleeping with his father in the open air on a piece of cardboard. He was there in the morning, there in the evening, and again this morning and this evening. I wonder where is his mother, where is his family?

The stories one hears about entire families being annihilated, completely erased from the national registers of citizenship makes your hair stand on end! But still, it does not sink in. Perhaps because I am in the operation room and used to seeing people injured.

Then reality hits when the shelling in Jabalia starts. At ten in the evening we receive a lady in her sixties. She is full of dust, full of earth and full of holes throughout her body. Head lacerated, thighs lacerated, leg crushed. I think of where she could have been sitting, what were her thoughts when the shell hit…

I thought of mom, I thought of all the older women I know.

A quick summary of the last 3 weeks.

When the bombing started this morning, it was children.

Our first patient was a little boy around 6 years old. He had massive lacerations to his groin, abdomen, face and head. He had burns all over his body as well. We were able to manage him in the theatre. I wait to see how he is doing.

Then comes Haneen. She is an 8 year old; my colleague from the emergency room, Dr. Haytham informed me that a child is coming up with her hand hanging on her side. I went up to Haneen who was waiting calmly in the holding bay. Her eyes were closed. She had a bandage across her head; her eyes were closed because of the swelling from the oedema and the burns to her face. I approached her and held her, and greeted her, and informed her of my name.

I held Haneen little hand on the injured side. I told her that I will be with her – she held my fingers. She informed me that her hand hurts. I told her that it was injured and that we will try and fix it. She then asked me about her father and two sisters. I told her that her father was waiting for her. I could not tell her that her sister had died. I still could not tell her that later that evening, her other sister was brought in dead from under the rubble…they were both less than four years old.

I saw Haneen in the ICU later. She was awake and extubated. I greeted her and told her that I was Dina. One eye was now open. She asked me if I had a daughter, I said yes. She asked me what is her name. I said Haya. She said that is a pretty name.

It was a tough day that ended with hopeful news.

The plane up above, called zanana (drone) keeps buzzing all around. My colleagues from Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem arrived today with supplies. I felt proud to greet them. The Hospital had done an excellent job sending supplies and individual packs to each of us. They were greeted and their support appreciated. Being there is all that matters.

On a personal level, I feel responsible for a big group now. It is very nice to have Dr. Haytham here; he is a wonderful professional colleague. My other colleagues are in Nasser Hospital in Rafah (South of Gaza), treating the injured and witnessing the toll of martyrs. One other colleague is at Al Aqsa Hospital working in surgery.

The smell of blood and death is around the young and the old.

Each day we are greeted with the car coming to take the martyrs.

Our room is close to the mortuary. You look at the faces of people here – they are all stunned. A nurse on duty looks deeply sad – her son comes with her to work.

My friend Bassam from Gaza came to visit me and brought me a lot of goodies to eat. I distributed them among our team and colleagues. I was worried when I looked into his eyes and saw how red they were. The strain on his face was apparent. His son had a close call, and his nephew has ben injured. They are children. They were playing in the street and had just stepped into the house….

The nursing director had to take a deep breath as he recalled all the children that he had seen. We will need time to heal she said, the pain will take time. The stories are overwhelming and the loss has not yet stopped.

Gaza. Day 5

Below is the second e-mail from my mother, Dina Khoury-Nasser sent yesterday evening (10:17 pm 5th of August 2014) almost 20 hours after her first.

We woke up today to the sound of thundering, followed by the sound of an F16 fighter jet.

I jumped out of bed hoping the ceasefire hopes we went to bed with were not shattered. I looked at my watch and saw it was 7:30 in the morning. I realized that this must be the usual cycle (as people say) before the ceasefire was in effect at eight. I was relieved, I felt the buzzing sound outside sounded different.

My colleague, Dr. Dina, with whom I share a name and a room, laughed. She thought the buzz had never stopped, so how could it be different? In fact it was outside. The small selling stalls on the floor selling flip flops, underwear, t-shirts, shorts…

The mats and cardboards were gone from the balcony, yet the makeshift tents were there.

People were arguing, discussing going home or waiting. To go check their homes, or to wait. Like every morning on the walk to the hospital passing the morgue we encounter death, today another martyr in another ambulance.

We walked past a young man crying and pulling at his hair and a woman in the car in tears.

I reach the operating room as I do each morning and there was a happy atmosphere. No casualties today, nothing to do this morning. I did not even feel like holding my chlorine based wipe and going around with it. I decided to visit Haneen.

Dr. Haytham, my colleague and I went in. How are you? We asked. Ok she said, her head tilted to the side.

What happened to my sister? I do not know, I said, but I will ask. What happened to my father? We saw him in the emergency room, he is ok, perhaps he is in the hospital or he has been sent home, I answered. What home? I bit my tongue. There is no more home.

I said perhaps to someone’s home from the family. But I promised we will ask. Finally she asked about her mother. I had no idea…Tell me what happened to them. I promised again I would ask. She asked me once more about my daughter. How is she? She is well, I said.

Again, she asked about her sisters.

I went to the operating room and asked to find out. The nurses helped find a relative who came a few hours later. He had tears in his eyes. Haneen’s mother had passed away, her two sisters, her uncle and her cousin from another uncle. That was the baby that had come in that morning with her…

This afternoon, my colleagues from Gaza insisted on taking us around. The damage, the destruction, the awe, the smell of rot. It was Jenin revisited a million times over!

I have still not made it to the Shejaieye proper, there it is total annihilation…

We are not the heroes. It is the Gaza people that are the heroes as they survive and live on through all this pain.

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Gaza: 9 children die in attack on playground

The Gaza park attack happened as children played on a swing in the Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City, said Ayman Sahabani, head of the accident and emergency department at nearby Shifa Hospital.

Mr Sahabani said nine of the ten people killed were children under the age of 12. Some 46 other people were wounded.

The strike occurred a few minutes after the hospital’s outpatient clinic was hit, leaving several people wounded.

Pools of blood could be seen on the ground in the Beach refugee camp garden in the aftermath of the explosion.

Munther Al-Derbi, a camp resident, said: “We came out of the mosque when I saw the children playing … Seconds later a missile landed. May God punish … Netanyahu,” he said, referring to the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Palestinian mourners cry at Gaza City's al-Shifa hospital. Picture: Getty

Palestinian mourners cry at Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital. Picture: Getty

 KARIN LAUB and TIA GOLDENBERG Updated on the 29 July 2014
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NINE children were killed following a strike on a Gaza playpark yesterday.

Israeli and Palestinian authorities blamed each other for the attack, while fighting continued despite a major Muslim Ramadan holiday.

A truce between Israel and Hamas remained elusive despite diplomatic efforts to end the fighting at the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Israeli military said a mortar attack on southern Israel caused “deaths and injuries”, but did not disclose further details.

Israeli media reported that the attack killed at least 4 people, which saw military helicopters rushing people to hospital on stretchers.

More than 1,900 Palestinian lives, most of them civilian, have been lost since 8 July, when Israel launched its offensive against Hamas in Gaza.

Israel’s military death toll rose to 48 with yesterday’s deaths. Three civilians have also died.

Last night, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that parties to the conflict in Gaza had “expressed serious interest” in his request for a further 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire, but “have not yet agreed on the timing of its implementation”.

Gaza’s police operations room, civil defence and Mr Sahabani all blamed the attacks on Israeli airstrikes.

But Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner denied Israel was involved.

He said: “This incident was carried out by Gaza terrorists whose rockets fell short and hit the Shifa Hospital and the Beach camp.”

Gaza’s interior ministry spokesman Eyad al-Bozum said he believed that shrapnel found in dead bodies and in the wounded was evidence of Israel’s role in the incident.

He said: “The occupation [ie, Israel] claims that Palestinian rockets hit the hospital and the park.

“This is an attempt to cover their ugly crime against children and civilians, and because of their fear of scandal and international legal prosecution.”

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the strike on the park a “massacre”.

Hamas’ military wing said that, in response to the strike, it fired three rockets toward the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

Mr Netanyahu said yesterday: “We will continue to act aggressively and responsibly until the mission is completed to protect our citizens, soldiers and children.”

And he said Israel would not finish its operation until it had “neutralised” Hamas tunnels out of Gaza.

Israel’s military yesterday also ordered residents of parts of northern Gaza to evacuate towards central Gaza City, a sign that Israel may be broadening its assault.


Gaza: Over 100 bodies found as ceasefire called


Letter from Gaza by a Norwegian doctor

Dearest friends,

The last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

Dr Mads Frederick Gilbert (centre) at Al-Shifa hospital on July 17th, treating a wounded Palestinian child, after an Israeli air strike killed 4 children and wounded 5 others.

The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12-24 hour shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!

Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” (sic!).

My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.

Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! Not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – oh – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes,cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away … to be prepared again, to be repeated all over.

More then 100 cases came to Shifa in the last 24 hrs.

Enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here – almost nothing: no electricity, water, disposables, drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterday’s hospitals. But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormously resolute.

And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flow, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!

An then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16, the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the cluttering Apaches.

So much made in and paid by the US.

Mr. Obama – do you have a heart?

I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.

I am convinced, 100%, it would change history.

Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.

But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another “dahyia” onslaught on Gaza.

The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.

Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.

Mads Gilbert MD PhD
Professor and Clinical Head
Clinic of Emergency Medicine
University Hospital of North Norway

Note 1: Israel bombers targeted this hospital too

This is Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon who traveled to Gaza to help the injured and has been treating hundreds of victims wounded in Israel’s ongoing assault, including young children.
Dr. Gilbert says hospitals are operating without electricity, water and proper medical supplies, but
adds: “As a medical doctor, my appeal is don’t send bandages, don’t send syringes, don’t send medical teams. The most important medical thing you can do now is to force Israel to stop the bombing and lift the siege of Gaza.”
Gilbert recently recently submitted a report to the United Nations on the state of the Gaza health sector in 2014.
“Where is the decency in the U.S. government allowing Israel this impunity to punish the whole
civilian population in Gaza?”
Dr. Gilbert says hospitals are operating without electricity, water and proper medical supplies, but adds:
As a medical doctor, my appeal is don’t send bandages, don’t send syringes, don’t send medical teams. The most important medical thing you can do now is to force Israel to stop the bombing and lift the siege of Gaza.
Gilbert recently recently submitted a report to the United Nations on the state of the Gaza health sector in 2014.
“Where is the decency in the U.S. government allowing Israel this impunity to punish the whole civilian population in Gaza?”

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June 2023

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