A US Medical Team Removes An Israeli Bullet From An Infant’s Head In Nablus

A US medical team removes an Israeli bullet from an infant’s head in Nablus - (Photo File)

A US medical team removes an Israeli bullet from an infant’s head in Nablus 

Days Of Palestine – Nablus

A medical team succeeded removing an Israeli bullet from the head of infant (7 months) at the Rafidya Governmental Hospital in Nablus, north of the occupied West Bank.

The health ministry said in a press statement on Friday that a US medical team had operated on the infant successfully and the infant was taken home.

Health Minister Mai Al-Keila praised the efforts of the American medical team and the Palestine Children’s Relief Society stressing that the arrival of these delegations to Palestine is proof that our cause remains a priority for the peoples of the world.

She also added that the great cooperation between the Ministry and the Palestine Children’s Relief Society has contributed to the invitation of hundreds of distinguished delegations who have conducted quality operations in our hospitals, which has enhanced the exchange of experience between our cadres and international delegations.

The infant girl, who was in her mother’s arms at the time,  was shot in the head after Israeli soldiers opened fire near their house in the village of Mazra’a, northwest of Ramallah and spent three weeks in intensive care unit.

The American medical team specializes in neurosurgery and was hosted by the Ministry of Health through cooperation with the Palestine Children Relief Society.

The American team, led by neurosurgeons Dr. Aaron Robison, Dr. Ahmed Khalidi and their team from the Loma Linda Children’s Hospital, conducted the complicated two hour operation on the infant at Rafidia Hospital.

The ministry explained that seven medical delegations specializing in various fields, including 16 doctors and specialists and nurses are currently working during the month of June in the public hospitals in the West Bank.

The ministry pointed out that it annually receives in its hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip more than 150 medical teams in different specializations and from different countries around the world.

(Source / 15.06.2019) 

Gaza’s health ministry warns of ‘unprecedented’ deteriorated situation

A Palestinian family waits for medical help inside an ambulance outside a hospital in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza strip on 5 May, 2019 [ANAS BABA/AFP/Getty]

A Palestinian family waits for medical help inside an ambulance outside a hospital in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza strip on 5 May, 2019

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza yesterday warned of a deterioration in conditions in its hospitals due to the “unprecedented” lack of medicines, Shehab.ps reported.

In a statement, the ministry said that “patients in Gaza hospitals are experiencing unprecedented bad conditions due to the severe lack of medicines resulted of the Israeli siege.”

Fifty-two per cent of  basic medicines and medical supplies have now run out in the Strip, the statement said, adding that this “undermines” the ministry’s ability to offer its services.

The Ministry of Health in Ramallah has not dispatched any shipment of medicines or medical supplies to the Gaza hospitals and has reduced the number of patient transfers to the Israeli hospitals without offering alternatives, the statement continued.

READ: Israel bans Palestinians from fishing off Gaza coast 

(Source / 13.06.2019) 

Israeli report warns of ‘environmental implications’ of Gaza crisis

Israelis complain that sewage from the Gaza Strip is polluting their water. Photo of the sewage problem in Gaza.

Israelis complain that sewage from the Gaza Strip is polluting their water. Photo of the sewage problem in Gaza

A report prepared by Israeli experts has warned that “the collapsing water, sewage and electricity infrastructure in the Gaza Strip pose material danger to Israel’s groundwater, seawater, beaches and desalination plants”, reported Haaretz.

The study was prepared by scholars from Ben-Gurion University and Tel Aviv University for the environmental organisation EcoPeace Middle East, and was presented Monday at the annual Conference of the Israeli Association of Public Health Physicians and Schools of Public Health.

One upshot of the reduced electricity supply to the blockaded territory “is that sewage plants aren’t operational and thus 70 percent of Gaza’s untreated sewage goes straight into the sea”.

READ: US study examines Israel’s ‘targeting’ of Palestinian agricultural, water and energy infrastructures

In addition, “Gaza is also over utilising its aquifers and consequently, most of the underground water is already contaminated. By next year zero percent of the Gazan groundwater will be fit for human use, according to standards of the World Health Organisation”, Haaretz added.

The report authors say “sewage dumping already caused Israel’s desalination plant in Ashkelon to shut down three years ago”, while “dumping in Gaza can increase bacterial concentrations as far north as Ashdod”. In addition, “sewage contamination also endangers an important source of groundwater for Israel southeast of Ashkelon”.

According to Haaretz, “Israel, until now, had been able to mitigate the effect of the environmental pollution from Gaza on Israel itself, by monitoring the quality of the seawater and closing down the Ashdod desalination plant if necessary”.

However, “the more the population in Gaza grows, and with it, the quantity of sewage, the greater the danger that sustained damage will be caused to the beaches and the groundwater in Israel”.

(Source / 05.06.2019) 

Palestinians despair of Israeli restrictions to medical treatment outside Gaza

Rejection or delay of travel permits for Gaza patients amount to ‘war crimes,’ rights groups say

By Motasem A Dalloul

Over 60 per cent of travel permits for Palestinian suffering from serious illnesses in Gaza are denied or delayed by Israeli occupation, leading to death or permanent disabilities.

The air was thick with anxiety as Muna Awad stepped out of the taxi at the entrance to the Erez Crossing, her five-year-old daughter Aisha in tow.

Aisha was about to embark on a journey from the besieged Gaza Strip to occupied East Jerusalem for emergency medical treatment – and Muna was handing her young daughter over to a woman the family had never seen before to help facilitate her travel.

“I felt as if my soul was leaving my body,” recalled Muna about being unable to travel with Aisha that day last month.

The five year old was diagnosed with brain cancer on 10 April.

The specialist hospital in Gaza that handles cancer patients told Muna it was ill-equipped to treat her daughter, and ordered her to be transferred to the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem for urgent care.

While Aisha got a permit to leave Gaza within 24 hours, Muna said she was barred from accompanying her daughter, not granted a permit to leave the besieged Palestinian territory because she was under the age of 45.

“That was not my choice, but Israel’s choice,” said Muna.

“My shock was aggravated when I learnt that her father wouldn’t be allowed to accompany her either because of his age… We were told that male companions must be above 55” years old, she added.

Searching for solutions

Aisha’s father, Wissam, said he searched for solutions when he and his wife had their travel applications rejected.

He first asked his mother, Rifqa, 75, to apply for the companion permit, but Israeli authorities denied her application as well.

In the end, Israel allowed Halima Edaees – a Palestinian woman from al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza who had no previous ties to Aisha’s family – to accompany the young girl.

Edaees offered to go with Aisha because she already held a permit to travel with another patient.

“Accepting the fact that my sick little daughter would travel without me was the most difficult decision that I have ever taken in my life,” Muna said.

Aisha left the Gaza Strip on 17 April and arrived at al-Maqasid hospital in East Jerusalem, where she underwent an operation.

“We were happy when we were told that Aisha had a successful surgery and she was OK,” Wissam told MEE.

“I have a friend in Jerusalem and I asked him to visit her and let us speak with her on Skype and he did… We spoke with her and she looked fine, but she suddenly went into a coma.”

Aisha was transferred to Augusta Victoria Hospital, also in East Jerusalem, where she had several more surgeries – but, Wissam said, “she never woke up”.

The little girl was sent back to Gaza, but remained irresponsive. She died on 15 May.

Thousands rejected or delayed

Aisha’s story is not unique. Many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been unable to travel with their loved ones as they seek medical treatment outside the coastal Palestinian enclave.

In fact, according to the Gaza-based Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Israel only allows men above age 55 and women 45 years and older to accompany patients who need to travel outside Gaza for medical treatment.

The group said that 25,658 Palestinians applied for permits to seek medical treatment outside of Gaza last year. Of that number, Israeli authorities delayed processing or rejected outright 9,832 applications – some 38 percent of cases.

“These are very difficult conditions,” said Yamen al-Madhoun, an Al Mezan field worker.

Mohammad Abu Silmiyyeh is the director of al-Rantisi hospital, which offers cancer treatment in Gaza. The doctor told MEE that the medical complications in Aisha’s case may have been tied to the delays in her travel.

In fact, he said such delays have “fatal consequences in the cases of many patients in Gaza”.

Lack of facilities, lack of equipment

While Gaza is home to a cancer treatment department and skilful medical specialists, hospitals in the coastal territory regularly send patients suffering from serious illnesses to the West Bank, Jerusalem, Israel or abroad.

There is a systemic lack of medicine and medical equipment in Gaza, due to the restrictions imposed under Israel’s 12-year siege, Abu Silmiyyeh explained.

He said that lack of medical equipment makes it impossible to offer chemotherapy and radiotherapy, one or both of which are usually necessary for the treatment of cancers.

Add to that delays or bans on travelling outside of Gaza for treatment, and fears among some patients about being detained at Erez Crossing – the main crossing between Gaza and Israel – and medical patients in Gaza truly face a myriad of challenges, he said.

“The protocols for treating cancer are the same in Gaza as they are in the West Bank, Israel, Africa, America and everywhere else,” he said.

“The problem we have is the lack of [tools]… including medicines and equipment.”

Violating international law

According to Madhoun at Al Mezan, Israel is committing “flagrant violations” of international law by putting up roadblocks that bar or delay patients and their companions from freely accessing medical treatment.

“Israel violates the right to life for Palestinian patients, the right to freedom of movement and the right to access healthcare services,” he said.

“These violations amount to flagrant violations of human rights and international law, and they are… collective punishment.”

On 25 October last year, Mohammad Baraka, a 25-year-old agricultural engineering graduate from the village of Abasan in southern Gaza, was told he was suffering from a “non-dangerous” tumour.

Doctors in the Gaza Strip ordered him to be transferred immediately to al-Maqasid in East Jerusalem for medical treatment.

But after several delays, Baraka was only sent to Jerusalem on 9 December. By then, the tumour had become life threatening, his family said.

“He spent three months in Jerusalem. He had 11 surgeries, but unfortunately his condition deteriorated dramatically and he fell into a coma,” his father, Azzazi, 57, told MEE.

After he was transferred back to Gaza, Baraka spent 40 days in local hospitals before being discharged because the facilities were unable to offer him proper treatment.

“And he has not woken up to this day,” his father said.

(Source / 24.05.2019)

Nurse in Gaza: “We had no choice but to lay patients on the ground.”

23 May 7:39 PM

by Sarah Collins, for Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency

Sarah Collins has just completed her first mission with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The emergency department nurse from Woodbury, in Devon, reflects on her time in Gaza.

I don’t think I will ever forget May 14, 2018. I have worked as a nurse for 13 years in many different settings and I didn’t think there was much left that could shock me.

“I began to realize my mission might be quite different from what I anticipated.”

I had arrived in Gaza less than a month earlier. My job description was to support and train emergency department staff to improve trauma care – a ‘hands-off’ role – but, things didn’t exactly turn out that way.

A few weeks before I was due to travel to Gaza, the first ‘Great Return March’ took place. The subsequent violence resulted in more than 700 people suffering gunshot wounds, in the border areas, and the health service was taken completely by surprise.

Suddenly, Gaza dominated the headlines, once more, and I began to realize my mission might be quite different from what I anticipated.

I was thrown into it as soon as I arrived – spending each Friday of my first few weeks in the emergency departments of different hospitals, helping the local staff to manage the influx of mass casualties.

We knew in advance that May 14 was going to be big, but no one could have predicted quite how bad it would be. Everyone was on high alert, at the hospital.

It was a trickle, at first, but that soon became a steady stream. Patient after patient – mostly young men, but there were older people and women, too.

“Soon, we began to run out of beds. An emergency donation was made, but it didn’t last.”

Almost all had gunshot wounds to the legs. We moved from patient to patient, doing what we could – mostly packing wounds, splinting fractures, applying makeshift tourniquets and starting intravenous fluids.

We picked up shattered limbs and tried, over and over, with endless packets of gauze and bandages, to stop the bleeding. At the same time, I knew that many legs were past saving.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the critical cases – those with gunshot wounds to the chest, or the head, being whisked through to the resuscitation room.

The number of patients kept increasing. Soon, we began to run out of beds. An emergency donation was made, but it didn’t last.

Before long, we had no choice but to lay our patients on the ground, and kneel beside them, to treat them. The numbers quickly threatened to overwhelm us. Each patient was accompanied by family or friends, and the small department became desperately overcrowded.

After some hours, we were pulled outside, through the crowds that had gathered, and we sat on a bench at the back of the hospital.

Someone pressed coffee and falafel sandwiches into our hands. I couldn’t believe what was happening. After a few minutes, we fought our way back inside.

The crowds and patient numbers had become overwhelming: it was no longer possible to triage or organize people – they just piled in, filling every conceivable space: you could not move a meter without stepping over a patient.

“I cannot remember the face of a single patient I cared for, that day.”

It was impossible to work in any kind of systematic way – all you could do was try to do something for the patient nearest you, until another nurse, or a relative, called you to help them with something else.

Everyone was giving every bit of their energy. Hospital cleaners became nursing assistants, families did whatever they could. I remember clearly the moment when I knew it was really bad: in this deeply conservative place, cultural boundaries were suddenly forgotten – male colleagues reached into my pockets to take scissors or bandages, fathers grabbed my hands to pull me to where their son lay on the floor.

People became desperate, fights broke out. I tried to close my ears to the cries of patients as I wrestled with their broken legs: we didn’t have enough pain killers, and we had to stop the bleeding.

I remember a moment when I stood in the middle of the room, chaos swirling around me, and I thought, “I don’t know what to do!” … and, then, one of the nurses called my name, pulled me to another patient, pressed more packets of gauze into my hand, and we continued.

The hours flew past like that. Eventually, as supplies became critical, the flow of patients finally began to slow down. The security situation was deteriorating as emotions ran higher, and our management decided to pull us out.

I remember coming back to the office where many of our colleagues were waiting for us: I remember the concern on their faces when I couldn’t hold back the tears. I remember putting my scrubs, and my shoes, in a bucket of bleach when I arrived home. I remember standing alone in my kitchen, in the dark, trying to wrap my mind around what had just happened.

The one thing I don’t remember is faces. I cannot remember the face of a single patient I cared for, that day.

“I share something special with the nurses I worked with, that day.”

Once a man stopped me and told me he recognized me, that I took care of his father when he was lying on that crowded floor, bleeding. We saw almost 600 patients, that day.

There was a doctor on duty that I saw many patients with. I found out, later, that they had brought his brother in, during the afternoon. He died before they could find my colleague.

It’s nearly one year on, now, and we have all found a way to put that day behind us: tucked it away in a corner of our minds so that we can carry on with our jobs.

I share something special with the nurses I worked with that day – if I see them now for a training session, or in passing, we share a nod, a smile, a greeting.

We hold the memory of that day silently between us, for just a second, and then we move on. I left a tiny part of myself on the floor of that emergency room, that day, and I know that long after I have moved on from Gaza, that part of me will remain, remembering.

Sarah Collins is an emergency department nurse with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza.

(Source / 23.05.2019)

UN warns half of Gaza residents will be starving next month

A report issued by the United Nations in 2017 warned that the Gaza Strip would be “uninhabitable” by 2020

UN Relief and Works Agency warned on Monday that one million people in Gaza Strip, half of its residents, would starve if the organisation did not secure $60m in aid for its food programmes.

In a statement the international organisation said: “At a time when Muslims around the world are observing the holy month of Ramadan, often characterised by the festive nature of its Iftars, in Gaza, more than half the population depends on food aid from the international community.”

The statement stressed that unless UNRWA secures “at least an additional $60 million by June, their ability to continue providing food to more than one million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, including some 620,000 abject poor – those who cannot cover their basic food needs and who have to survive on $1.6 per day – and nearly 390,000 absolute poor – those who survive on about $3.5 per day – will be severely challenged.”

UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. From fewer than 80,000 Palestine refugees receiving UNRWA social assistance in Gaza in the year 2000, there are today over one million people who need emergency food assistance without which they cannot get through their day.

Matthias Schmale, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, said: “This is a near ten-fold increase caused by the blockade that lead to the closure of Gaza and its disastrous impact on the local economy, the successive conflicts that razed entire neighbourhoods and public infrastructure to the ground, and the ongoing internal Palestinian political crisis that started in 2007 with the arrival of Hamas to power in Gaza.”

A report issued by the United Nations in 2017 warned that the Gaza Strip would be “uninhabitable” by 2020.

The unemployment rate in Gaza rose to 52 per cent last year, with more than one million of the enclaves two million population dependent on quarterly UNRWA food handouts.

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Last year, the US State Department said Washington would “no longer commit funding” to the UNRWA.

The US had been UNRWA’s largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually — roughly a quarter of the agency’s overall budget.

This came a month after reports emerged of a secret American report stated that there are only 40,000 Palestinian refugees, noting they are the Palestinians who left their home land in 1948 and remain alive today and not their descendants.

US President Donald Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is reported to have tried to pressure Jordan to strip more than two million Palestinians of refugee status in a move that aims to end the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

(Source / 13.05.2019)

1,700 Gazans shot by IOF face amputation due to funding crisis

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM —The UN has warned that 1,700 Gazans shot by Israel Defense Forces at protests may need amputations in the next two years because of a lack of healthcare funding to help them recover. 

Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Occupied Palestinian Territory, told reporters that 7,000 Palestinians were shot by Israel at protests over the last year, with many hit in the lower legs.

“You’ve got 1,700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to be able to walk again,” McGoldrick said, explaining the wounded require rehabilitation and “very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery over a two year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves.”

There have already been 120 amputations carried out this year, including on children. Over 29,000 people were wounded at the Great March of Return demonstrations at the fence separating Gaza and Israel, which started in March 2018. Israel says shooting demonstrators in the legs shows restraint.

The UN is looking for $20 million in funding for operations to avoid amputations.

Gaza’s health system is under strain due to a lack of funding and medical supplies. The only teaching hospital is focused on trauma medicine training now, and doctors do not have the ability to carry out the complicated treatment needed for those at risk of amputation.

Food supplies are also under threat because of a lack of funding to the UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP has already had to cut aid to 193,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza this year.

(Source / 11.05.2019) 

UN: Health funding gap means 1,700 in Gaza may face amputations

Two Palestinian amputee men sit in the waiting room at the ICRC for Artificial limbs and Polio Center (ALPC) in Gaza City on 25 October, 2018 [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

Two Palestinian amputee men sit in the waiting room at the ICRC for Artificial limbs and Polio Center (ALPC) in Gaza City on 25 October, 2018

A lack of health funding in Gaza means 1,700 people shot by Israeli security forces may have to have amputations in the next two years, Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for occupied Palestinian territory, told reporters on Wednesday, Reuters reports.

McGoldrick said 29,000 Palestinians had been wounded in protests in the past year, and 7,000 of them had gunshot wounds, mostly in the lower legs.

“You’ve got 1,700 people who are in need of serious, complicated surgeries for them to be able to walk again,” McGoldrick said.

“These are people who have been shot during the demonstrations and who are in need of rehabilitation, and very, very serious and complex bone reconstruction surgery over a two year period before they start to rehabilitate themselves.”

READ: Israel military reinforcements leaving Gaza boundary 

Without those procedures, all these people are at risk of needing an amputation, he said.

The UN is seeking $20 million to fill the gap in health spending.

A lack of funding to the World Food Programme and UNRWA, the UN humanitarian agency that supports Palestinians displaced by the 1948 war of Israel’s founding, also meant there could be an interruption of food supplies for 1 million people.

“If that stops, there is no alternative for people to bring food in from any other sources, because they don’t have purchasing power,” McGoldrick said.

WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said a severe lack of funds meant WFP had cut aid for 193,000 people this year in the West Bank and Gaza, with 27,000 getting nothing and the rest getting only $8 per month instead of the usual $10.

Some 2 million Palestinians live in Gaza, the economy of which has suffered years of Israeli and Egyptian blockades as well as recent foreign aid cuts and sanctions by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas’ West Bank-based rival.

READ: As far as the UN is concerned, blaming Palestinians is the only available strategy 

People’s prospects were “precarious”, McGoldrick said. Gaza families averaged $4,000 of debt, while salaries averaged $400 per month, but 54 per cent of the population was unemployed.

The health system was impoverished, with unpaid salaries and dilapidated equipment, and many medical professionals had left if they could find opportunities elsewhere.

One teaching hospital was now only teaching trauma medicine, McGoldrick said, but the doctors on the ground did not have the technical ability to carry out the treatment required for the people at risk of amputation.

There have already been 120 amputations, 20 of them in children, in the past year, he said.

(Source / 08.05.2019)

Wounded Palestinian, Who Burnt Him Self Demanding Medical Care, Dies In Gaza

30 APR11:49 PM

A young Palestinian man, who was shot with several Israeli army live rounds on April 16, 2018, and torched himself two weeks ago after his repeated calls for medical treatment abroad went unanswered, has died from his serious wounds, on Tuesday evening.

Media sources said the young man, Bilal Mohammad Masoud, 24, from Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, has succumbed to his serious wounds at the Intensive Care Unit of the Shifa Medical Center, in Gaza.

The Palestinian was shot by Israeli soldiers, on April 16th, 2018, who fired live rounds at him, wounding him in his arm and legs, causing serious bone fractures and fragmentation, before he underwent several surgeries, including bone grafting, but his condition never improved.

He was shot while participating in the Great Return March processions by soldiers, stationed across the perimeter fence, near Abu Safiyya area, east of Jabalia in northern Gaza.

His family said that they have appealed for help from several parties in the Gaza Strip, including Hamas ruling party, in addition to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, to ensure his transfer to a hospital in Egypt or any other country.

According to his sister said, the family tried to transfer him for treatment in Egypt but was denied entry by the Egyptian Authorities.

(Source / 01.05.2019) 

Patients in Need of Specialized Care May Go to Hospitals in Jordan, Egypt

29 APR9:25 AM

Mai Alkaila, the newly appointed Palestinian Minister of Health said Sunday that the government is seeking a replacement option to the specialized care offered in Israel, reported Wafa News.

Last month the Palestinian Ministry of Health stopped transferring patients to Israeli hospitals, this was in response to the Israeli refusal millions of dollars in tax revenues collected on behalf of Palestinians.

Alkaila said that the decision not to send patients to Israel will not affect the care for patients with diseases beyond the expertise of Palestinian health care system, as these patients will potentially be transferred to local private hospitals, or to adjacent countries such as Egypt and Jordan.

She added that the main goal of the Ministry is to localize health services, attract medical practitioners, and provide high quality, safe health care.

(Source / 29.04.2019)