For the past month, medics have risked their lives and safety to treat Gaza’s wounded. Despite widespread, indiscriminate, and incessant bombardment by Israeli forces, doctors have continued working under fire. With limited access to food, water, electricity, essential medicines, and medical supplies, they have persevered and they recount scenes of horror in the hospitals: dead bodies everywhere, people with crushed limbs rescued from collapsed buildings, orphaned children with severe burns covering most of their tiny bodies. They describe patients screaming in pain because there’s not enough anesthesia. All the while, they’re worried about being killed themselves as hospitals and ambulances are hit by airstrikes. And every day, they stay for their patients.

They can’t go on like this. No one in Gaza can go on like this.

Humanitarian pauses are not enough. People in Gaza have been under siege and near constant bombardment for weeks, clinging to survival. The needs for medical care and essential supplies are massive. It makes no sense to briefly pause the war to allow in limited humanitarian aid, only to then resume the intense bombardment that is driving massive humanitarian needs. How many more civilians will be killed before the world says enough is enough!

So far, more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed including at least 4,506 children and 3,027 women. Over 27,000 other people have been injured. The majority of hospitals in Gaza – 20 out of 35 – have stopped functioning. 71% of all primary-care facilities have shut down due to damage or lack of fuel. Hospitals that remain open are limited in what they can provide and are shutting gradually downwards.

The scale of human suffering should shock the world’s conscience. While some aid has trickled in, Israel’s siege on Gaza has deprived the entire population of adequate access to food, water, electricity, and fuel. This is collective punishment, which is prohibited under international humanitarian law. The Israeli military has ordered all civilians to leave northern Gaza, and has ordered the evacuation of entire hospitals full of sick and wounded people who could never survive the journey.

Palestinian medics are working under horrendous conditions to continue to try to provide medical care where and when they can. People In Gaza City are afraid to go to hospitals because they are either attacked or at risk of being attacked at any time. In recent weeks, Al-Shifa Hospital—the biggest hospital in the Gaza Strip—has been overcrowded with patients. Without enough hospital beds, many people were being treated on the floor. Most of the operating rooms are no longer functional, and the hygiene situation is alarming. Mothers who just gave birth are malnourished and can’t produce milk to feed their babies, putting them at risk of starvation. Tens of thousands of displaced people have been sheltering outside Al-Shifa for safety.

Doctors describe taking care of many wounded children, often arriving scared and alone, with no relatives. They use a disturbing acronym to identify these children who need special attention: WCNSF, wounded child, no surviving family. Many  children are coming in with the majority of their bodies burned. These are extremely severe injuries that are hard to treat effectively even in high-resource settings. Children need two main things: They need pain relief and they need the security of their families. Today, too many children in Gaza don’t have either of those things.

The entire world is watching, and yet the killing of innocent civilians continues. Medical doctors are running out of words to describe the extent of the pain and suffering in Gaza right now. How do we remind the world that these people on our television screens—bloodied and laid out on hospital floors, rescued from under the rubble of bombed-out buildings—are human beings, with dreams and lives and loved ones? How many more civilians will be killed before the world says enough is enough?



Add new comment