What is the latest situation in Gaza? We came to know that the IDF besieged Al-Shifa Hospital … and asked to transfer the patients under treatment somewhere else.
A part of the hospital is bombarded. There is almost no connection with the outside world currently. Scores of corpses are piled inside the hospital. As no one can go outside, those bodies have to be buried inside the hospital en masse.
There is no supply of electricity, water and fuel. The internet connection is almost non-existent. There are many people including the children whose hands, legs and other limbs are damaged with bombs and bodies are severely burnt. It is almost impossible to relocate them from here.
We came to know that the physicians are asked to leave the children alone in the Al-Nasr Hospital. And yes, there are some physicians at Al-Shifa who did their MBBS from Bangladesh.
How much the number of patients increased in Gaza after 7 October?
The hospitals currently have 30 times the patients than their capacity. You may imagine the situation the physicians are facing amidst the acute crisis of electricity, fuel and water. Moreover, many people took shelter in the hospitals with the hope that the Israeli army wouldn't attack the hospitals. Many people, who lost everything, took shelter in the hospitals ever since the attack began.
What kind of patients are you receiving?
Patients mostly with phosphorus burn, suffocation, amputations, burns and head traumas. These kinds of injuries require specialised care, which at this time is not available due to the lack of medical supplies and consumables. Also, the lack of electricity and fuel makes it challenging for us as physicians to deal with such patients. Even sometimes, the Israeli air force targets alternative electricity sources and solar panels. They destroyed those sources.
The women who gave birth through operations cannot stay in the hospitals either. The mother and the newborns had to leave the hospitals within an hour of the childbirth.
The cancer patients used to receive treatment at a Turkish hospital. There are only two such hospitals for Palestinian people – in Gaza and in the West Bank. The hospital in Gaza is out of service due to the Israeli airstrikes and the Israelis have blocked the path to the West Bank. As a result, cancer patients are dying without any treatment.
Let me share with you my experience. Many families get killed and we find a little child is the only survivor as every other family member is killed by bombs. I keep thinking how this poor child will live its life with no relatives and no one to take care of. This particular thing is becoming a recurrent phenomena now and as the days go by, the number of such children are rising. Even children under one-year are becoming orphans.
What sort of pain the phosphorus burnt patients are going through?
Phosphorus burns go through the skin and inner tissues. They feel the excruciating pain of burning. The worst part is, when it comes into contact with oxygen the burning intensifies.
What is the situation of foods and drinks for patients?
Now in Gaza we are literally facing famine, you can barely find food, all shops and supermarkets are empty and closed, you have to travel kilometre after kilometre to get a piece of loaf or safe drinking water. People are desperately consuming dirty and stale water. The contaminated water is making them ill and consequently paving the way to death.
Israel is trying to say South Gaza is safe and asking civilians to move there…
Israelis are also bombing South Gaza too. The people of Gaza are nowhere safe now.
The people around the world have taken to the streets demanding the ceasefire. But most of the powerful countries are merely watching. Do you have anything to say about it?
Their silence is not a shock to us anymore. This is their usual double standard. They don’t value the lives of the Palestinian people. More than 11,000 people have died including over 4,000 children and 30,000 are injured. More than 4,000 people are trapped under the debris of destruction. These people are not mere numbers. They had names, dreams and the aspiration for lives.
How is your current situation?
Me? My house was destroyed by bombs. Some of my family members died. At least 200 colleagues (medical professionals) died. People are dying in thousands in front of our very eyes. But we will not be broken. We know this dark time will finish one day. We will build our new lives over the base of this destruction. As long as we have the last drop of our blood, the Palestine people will not leave their land.
Thanks for your interest. I want to take this chance to show gratitude to my professors and teachers back in Bangladesh who taught us medicine, and I promise them that we will make them proud as long as we live. I also thank the government of Bangladesh for granting us the scholarship to study medicine in Bangladesh.
* The interview, originally published in Bangla, has been rewritten in English by Syed Faiz Ahmed