Dr. Mohammed Abu Mughaiseeb is the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical referent in Gaza. This article was originally published on msf.org on October 2, 2018.
The last six months have been the most difficult I have experienced in my 15 years with MSF in Gaza. And that’s compared to the wars of 2008, 2012, and 2014.
For me, a doctor from Gaza, living and working here all my life, I feel like I know our limits in terms of what Gaza can endure. It’s been unbelievably difficult to tolerate the shocking volume of wounded arriving from the fence these last months.
I will never forget Monday, May 14. The local health authorities recorded a total of 2,271 wounded in one day. This included 1,359 people injured by live ammunition.
I was with our surgical team at al-Aqsa hospital, one of the main hospitals in Gaza. At 3:00 p.m. we started to see an influx of patients coming from the demonstration. More than 300 wounded arrived though the doors in less than four hours.
I had never seen so many patients in my life; patients queuing to get into the operating theater. The corridors were full; everyone crying, shouting, bleeding.
No matter how hard we worked and how many we were, we could not cope with that many injured bodies. It was too much. Gunshot after gunshot.
Our team worked for 50 hours supporting the Ministry of Health. It brought back the feeling of when we worked through the 2014 war. But really, nothing can prepare you for this.
What are we seeing today?
Still, each week new trauma cases arrive. The majority are young men with gunshot wounds in their legs with the potential to cause life-changing disabilities.