Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest medical center, is facing an unprecedented crisis, as revealed in a recent interview on Al-Araby TV with the hospital's director, Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya. The hospital's operating theaters are completely non-functional due to a crippling lack of electricity, leaving medical staff unable to perform surgeries. "The operating rooms are completely out of service, and now the wounded come to us and we cannot give them anything other than first aid,” Dr.
Abu Salmiya explained. This dire situation has led to unavoidable fatalities: "Whoever needs surgery dies, and we cannot do anything for him”.
A Catastrophic Situation Amid Heavy Fighting
The plight of Al-Shifa Hospital has been exacerbated by heavy fighting in its vicinity, leading to what health officials and aid agencies describe as a "catastrophic situation." Patients and staff are trapped inside, with ambulances unable to reach the wounded.
The hospital's life support systems, critical for the survival of many patients, are left without power. This has particularly impacted the neonatal unit, where the lack of oxygen has forced staff to remove premature babies from incubators.
“They are now exposed... We wrap them in foil and put hot water next to them so that we can warm them,” Dr. Abu Salmiya said, highlighting the desperate measures being taken to keep these infants alive. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Al-Shifa has been without electricity for three days.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed his concerns on the social media platform X: “It's been three days without electricity, without water and with very poor internet, which has severely impacted our ability to provide essential care”.
Controversy Over Fuel Delivery
The Israeli army claimed it placed 300 liters of fuel at the entrance to the Al-Shifa hospital complex on Sunday, but Hamas allegedly blocked the hospital from receiving it. Dr. Abu Salmiya confirmed that Israeli officials had offered the fuel, which would power the generator for only 30 minutes.
However, the hospital staff were too scared to retrieve it. “Of course, my paramedic team was completely afraid to go out,” he stated, suggesting that the fuel should be sent through the International Red Cross or another international institution.
Hamas, on the other hand, dismissed these accusations, labeling the Israeli fuel delivery as a propaganda ploy. This controversy adds another layer to the already complex and tragic situation at Al-Shifa Hospital, underscoring the immense challenges faced by medical facilities in conflict zones.