NewsNo Room Left to Breathe: Nasser Hospital Drowning in Patients

No Room Left to Breathe: Nasser Hospital Drowning in Patients

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July 2024- As the European Gaza hospital, in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, has shut down due to new evacuation orders from Israeli forces, Nasser hospital, the last tertiary hospital in south Gaza, risks being overwhelmed with mass casualties and wounded patients, warns Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Meanwhile, MSF teams working in Nasser hospital are seeing acute shortages of medical supplies, leaving people at risk of losing vital healthcare.

Nasser hospital is receiving an increase in patients every day, putting all departments in the hospital above bed capacity, while our teams are running on emergency medical stocks. The paediatric department has a capacity of 56 beds, but on 3 July MSF teams received some 100 patients. In the past few days, our teams in the orthopaedic department have seen a doubling of the number of patients.

“We have children lying on the floor. There are no more mattresses and no more beds, so patients are in the corridors lying on blankets and sitting on stairs,” says MSF nurse activity manager Cristina Roldán. “The team has put nails on the wall so we can hang the intravenous fluid and medication bags we need to give patients, but it’s a very difficult situation, and the team is exhausted.”

Also Read: MSF calls for an immediate end to the offensive in Rafah

On 1 July, following evacuation orders by Israeli forces for the areas east and south of Khan Younis, the Ministry of Health decided to evacuate the European Gaza hospital as a precaution. Patients were transported in ambulances from the European Gaza hospital to Nasser hospital, but many were forced to leave and walk some 10 kilometres to get there. Approximately 250,000 people are at risk of displacement in Khan Younis, due to the evacuation order.

“We have heard that patients have travelled on their own, either arriving at Nasser hospital having been pushed there in hospital beds or having walked with the help of their families,” says Dr Javid Abdelmoneim, MSF medical team leader working in Nasser hospital.

While dealing with an influx of new patients, Nasser hospital is also grappling with limited fuel. Patients at the hospital and those in surrounding field hospitals are at risk of losing lifesaving care. Nasser hospital is the main site for field hospitals to sterilise their equipment. If it loses electricity due to a lack of fuel, sterilisation becomes difficult, and the care provided at several field hospitals will come to a stop.

“Overall, it’s a comprehensive issue – from shortages of beds and supplies to the lack of surgeons,” says Dr Abdelmoneim. “With yet another hospital closed, patients’ lives are even more at risk.”

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