Doctors, Back From Gaza Hospitals, Tell Congress of Horrors Amid Cease-Fire Push

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Volunteers who treated patients in harrowing conditions lobbied American officials on the urgency of an immediate cease-fire.

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Volunteer Doctor Details Dire Conditions at a Gaza Hospital

Nick Maynard, part of a delegation of doctors who volunteered in Gaza, described “appalling atrocities” and the need for an immediate cease-fire at a news conference at the United Nations on Tuesday.

I spent two weeks at Al Aqsa Hospital, and I think it’s fair to say I wasn’t remotely prepared for what I was going – what I saw. I saw the most appalling atrocities. One child that I’ll never forget had burned so bad you could see her facial bones. We knew there was no chance of her surviving that, but there was no morphine to give her. So, not only was she inevitably going to die, but she would die in agony. Some days we didn’t have any surgical gloves, so we had to wash previous ones. Sometimes we had no surgical drapes. Many days we had no morphine. Knowing that actually a lot of those resources were probably in depots somewhere or maybe in lorries queuing up outside at Rafah but could not be distributed. And this is what is so urgent about the need for a cease-fire is, the only way that aid that’s being delivered to Gaza – and we welcome every bit of aid – the only way that aid is going to get to where it’s needed is if there is a cease-fire.

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Nick Maynard, part of a delegation of doctors who volunteered in Gaza, described “appalling atrocities” and the need for an immediate cease-fire at a news conference at the United Nations on Tuesday.CreditCredit…Adel Hana/Associated Press

The memories are unforgettable. A flood of screaming families carrying their bloodied loved ones through the doors of an already inundated hospital. A small boy trying to resuscitate a child who looked not much older than himself. A 12-year-old with shrapnel wounds to his head and abdomen being intubated on the ground.

That January day at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in southern Gaza — the aftermath of a missile strike on an aid distribution site — has haunted Dr. Zaher Sahloul, an American critical care specialist with years of experience treating patients in war zones, including in Syria and Ukraine.

He and other volunteer doctors who have returned from besieged hospitals in Gaza took their firsthand accounts of the carnage to Washington this week, hoping to convey to the Biden administration and senior government officials that an immediate cease-fire was needed to provide lifesaving medical care.

Among the evidence Dr. Sahloul took to show the American officials — including members of Congress and officials from the White House, State Department, Defense Department and the United States Agency for International Development — was a photo of the 12-year-old boy and his death certificate. The child never woke up from surgery after being intubated, the doctor said, and the hospital could not reach his family amid a near-total communications blackout.

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In the aftermath of a missile strike in Khan Younis, Gaza, in January, a stream of victims was brought to the Nasser Hospital.CreditCredit…Courtesy of Zaher Sahloul

Two other doctors in the delegation — Amber Alayyan, a Paris-based deputy program manager for Doctors Without Borders, and Nick Maynard, a British surgeon — said that robust medical advancements achieved by local doctors in Gaza had been wiped out by Israel’s war against Hamas.


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