Gaza Strip – In the middle of surgery, the operation theater went pitch dark for a few moments. Only two tiny monitors showing vital signs of the patient were visible. When the light came back on, powered by a generator, medics continued their work.
Almost 2,000 people were wounded and required urgent medical attention as violence escalated in the border area of Gaza in the last several weeks.
Doctors and nurses said the current crisis awakened the trauma of 2014 war, with several expressing frustration over not being able to do more for their patients.
Weakened by a shortage of drugs and other medical supplies, severe restrictions of movement, a chronic energy crisis and a worsening economic situation, Gaza’s health sector is struggling to cope with the influx of wounded.
Hospital staff face difficult dilemmas of prioritisation. “Every day I have to make a decision; to discharge a patient or keep them in. Many of them live in poverty and I know that if I discharge them they will not get the care they need at home,” says Dr. Ahmad, a surgeon at Gaza Indonesian Hospital.
“If I keep them here, we may not have enough hospital beds,” Ahmad added.
Hospital personnel know what it means to struggle economically, as some cannot even afford the cost of transportation to come to work.
Still, every on Friday, the busiest day of the week, they are there; ready, calm and in control. They quickly assess each patient, comfort emotional relatives, and just keep going, against all odds.