Gaza’s main hospital collapsed on Saturday when Israeli forces surrounding it began to close, and an almost complete blackout of electricity and oxygen led to the death of a premature baby in the incubator and a number of other patients, according to the hospital director. And the Ministry of Health in Gaza.
Without fuel to run the generators, Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City was plunged into darkness and its medical equipment stopped working. For weeks – amid Israel’s fuel and electricity cuts – it has relied on backup generators and dwindling supplies of fuel, which are now running low.
At Shifa Hospital and several other Gaza City hospitals, thousands of sick, wounded and critically ill displaced people were trapped inside while Israeli tanks and snipers surrounded the compounds and sometimes opened fire, according to the Health Ministry, doctors and some witnesses taking cover. inside. Nearby, intense fighting is taking place at close range between Israeli forces and fighters from Hamas, the Palestinian armed group that controls Gaza.
An Israeli military spokesman said of the hospitals: “We are slowly closing them” and urged people to leave.
But some who tried to flee Saturday, including a family, came under fire by Israeli snipers, killing at least one person, according to several people at Shifa Hospital, including director Dr. Muhammad Abu Salamiya.
On Saturday, the Israeli army denied the existence of any siege or shooting in the Shifa neighborhood, and said that the army could coordinate with anyone who wanted to leave. Earlier, the army said that it was “in the midst of ongoing violent fighting against Hamas” in the Shifa area.
The Israeli army accused Hamas of running an underground command center beneath Al-Shifa Hospital, using the hospital as a shield. The hospital administration and Hamas denied these accusations.
The escalation of raids and fighting near some Gaza City hospitals has exacerbated an already catastrophic medical crisis in the Strip. Dr. Nasser Bulbul, head of the premature and neonatal department at Al-Shifa Hospital, said that there are dozens of other premature babies in incubators that are no longer working.
“We have to move the babies with blankets and sheets to another building,” he said, where there is little electricity to run the incubators. He added that it is dangerous even to move from one building to another within the medical complex.
The Palestinian Red Crescent warned on Saturday that Al-Quds Hospital, another major hospital in Gaza City, was at risk of closing in the coming hours due to running out of fuel needed to operate electricity generators. The Red Crescent said that there are currently 500 patients in the hospital.
The Red Crescent said that Israeli tanks and military vehicles surrounded Al-Quds Hospital and bombed the building.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that the United Nations has verified more than 250 attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including hospitals, clinics, ambulances and patients.
“It is impossible to describe the situation on the ground,” Dr. Tedros said. “The hospital corridors are crowded with the wounded, sick and dying. The morgues are overflowing. Surgery without anesthesia. Tens of thousands of displaced people have taken refuge in hospitals.”
Medhat Abbas, Director General of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said that in the intensive care unit at Al-Shifa Hospital, after shutting off the ventilators, the medical staff performed manual artificial respiration on some patients for several hours.
Dr. Abu Salmiya, director of the hospital, said: “Surgeries had to stop. “Dialysis has stopped and the neonatal unit is in a very dire situation.”
He added: “If any wounded people reach us now, we will not be able to operate on them.”
The power outage comes as a result of the Israeli siege on Gaza during the past month, which cut off water, food, electricity and fuel. Israel imposed the blockade days after a brutal attack by Hamas, which led to the death of about 1,200 people, according to Israeli authorities.
Power shortages forced surgeons to operate using flashlights, and doctors and nurses to manually operate ventilators to keep patients alive. There is also a severe shortage of food, water and medicine, and medical workers reported that they had to perform some surgeries, including amputations and brain operations, without anesthesia.
Mahmoud Abu Harbid, a resident of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, has been in Al-Shifa Hospital for more than a month. He said on Saturday that his house was hit by Israeli air strikes early in the war, wounding his brother, and they fled to the hospital to receive treatment and shelter for his brother.
He said: “Everyone is on top of each other, the displaced and the wounded, even the medical staff.” “They are trying to save this person and that person, but they cannot. There is no electricity, medicine or anything,” he added.
“People are afraid, but we pray that God will protect us.”
Rawan Sheikh Ahmed And Aaron Puckerman Contributed to reports.
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