Doctors in Gaza hospital "have to prioritise" patients most likely to survive
Doctors in Gaza hospital "have to prioritise" patients most likely to survive
Doctors in Gaza hospital "have to prioritise" patients most likely to survive
by DZRH News07 February 2024
Palestinian-Irish plastic surgeon Ahmed El Mokhallalati checks a Palestinian man wounded in an Israeli strike, at the European Hospital, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Arafat Barbakh

By Arafat Barbakh

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza (Reuters) - Staff and equipment are in such short supply in Gaza's European Hospital that medical teams are having to make agonising decisions about whom to accept, doctors said, leaving many patients with severe life-threatening injuries untreated.

The European Hospital, in the southern city of Khan Younis, was intended for only 240 people but is currently treating around 1,000 patients while many displaced people are also sheltering in its corridors, they said.

"Many days we have to prioritise between patients," plastic surgeon Ahmed El Mokhallalati said, adding this meant focusing on those with a more likely chance of surviving and neglecting those "in a bad situation and (needing) a lot of care".


"We lost many patients because we were unable to provide the service. At one point, we were not taking any patients with extensive burns because we knew the capacity in the ICU (intensive care unit) can't deal with this."

Mokhallalati described performing amputations on patients who had already lost their entire families, adding that he often burst into tears "because we are unable to provide the care (in) the way it is needed".

More than 27,000 people have been killed and 66,000 injured in Gaza during Israel's retaliatory campaign against the militant Palestinian group Hamas that runs the enclave following its deadly cross-border attack into southern Israel on Oct. 7, when it killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages.

Most of the enclave's hospitals have been shut, with some of them directly hit or raided, and those still functioning are under growing pressure as Israeli troops push closer. Israel says Hamas uses such facilities as cover for military purposes.


Thaer Daifallah, a facial surgeon, complained of shortages of even the most basic items.

"I would say healthcare is in complete collapse and it will take years to get it back to normal," he said.

Nearby hospitals, such as Al-Amal which has been hit several times in recent weeks, may struggle to stay open, Tommaso Della Longa, spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said on Tuesday.

"I don't want to even think about the possibility of having Al Amal close in the coming days but the reality is that if the situation will not change it will be very difficult to continue activities in the hospital," he told a news briefing in Geneva.


(Writing and additional reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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