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You are here News Human Rights ‘Nothing justifies what we have witnessed here’: the doctors returning home from Gaza

‘Nothing justifies what we have witnessed here’: the doctors returning home from Gaza

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Doctors return from GazaJust a few days after arriving at a hospital outside Rafah in the Gaza Strip, Dr Omar El-Taji – a urologist who usually works in Manchester – was woken up at 2am to operate on an urgent case. “A man in his 30s was brought in after his entire building was bombed,” he says. “He had an open wound to his abdomen, his hand was falling off, and his ankles were completely mangled.”

The man was quickly taken into the operating room. “The shrapnel had completely sliced through him – I had never seen anything like it,” says El-Taji.

The patient survived the surgery, but died two days later after he went into renal failure due to sepsis as there was no dialysis available. “This would not have happened in a healthcare system that was adequately resourced,” he says.

El-Taji was part of a group of international doctors who spent three weeks in Gaza, operating under the umbrella of the World Health Organization. It has given them a first-hand look at a health system that has been shattered by Israel’s continuing offensive in Gaza, where two dozen hospitals are no longer operating.

The team of medical workers arrived at the European hospital near Khan Younis at the beginning of May with suitcases filled with essential items, including medication, surgical instruments, and boxes of Quality Street. “For the kids,” says El-Taji.

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