Canadian doctor stuck in Gaza volunteers at overwhelmed hospital

A Canadian doctor, Dr Bader, who recently traveled from London, Ontario, to the Gaza Strip to visit his aging parents, is now stuck in the besieged Palestinian territory.

He chose to volunteer at Gaza’s largest hospital, which is overwhelmed by people in urgent need of life-saving care while medical supplies are lacking.

“People are waiting outside, seriously injured and sometimes, unfortunately, you have to choose who you’re going to treat,” the neonatologist told The Canadian Press, speaking from his parents’ home in Gaza. “It’s a difficult choice for those who work in emergency departments.”

The Dr Bader, who is 47, arrived in Gaza less than two weeks before Hamas militants breached Israel’s heavily fortified separation barrier and killed more than 1,200 Israelis in a brutal rampage. Israel responded by massively bombing Gaza, home to some 2.3 million Palestinians.

According to several observers, the war, which has left at least 2,600 dead on both sides, is expected to intensify.

Mr. Bader said he was asked to volunteer at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where the morgue was overflowing and workers had to pile corpses outside the cold room and put them in dozens of others, side by side, in the parking lot.

Israel said nothing would be allowed into Gaza until around 150 hostages captured by Hamas were released.

Egypt says it has engaged in intensive negotiations with Israel and the United States to allow the delivery of aid and fuel to Gaza. The Dr Bader calls on Canada and the international community to raise their voices louder to call for the creation of a humanitarian corridor that would allow food, water and medicine to enter Gaza.

Shifa Hospital and other hospitals are desperately trying to save the diesel left in their emergency generators, turning off the lights in all but the most essential hospital departments: intensive care, operating rooms and oxygen stations.

Canadian doctor says Israel is imposing collective punishment on Palestinians in Gaza who played no role in Hamas attack, insisting that ensuring access to medical supplies and other essentials for non-combatants does not should not be a subject of negotiation. “If we are principled, we should ask ourselves why we cannot help those trapped in the Gaza Strip. A government like Canada’s should apply enough additional pressure to put an end to this disaster. What is happening in the Gaza Strip is a crime because we do not have access to our basic needs. »

Strict blockade

Israel has imposed a strict blockade of Gaza since 2007, when Hamas took power in the coastal enclave. Egypt also tightly controls the flow of goods and people through the Rafah crossing.

A senior official from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that the lack of electricity could paralyze hospitals, endanger newborns in incubators and elderly patients on oxygen, and interrupt kidney dialysis and x-rays. “Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues,” said Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director.

Bader told The Canadian Press he wasn’t sure what he would do if given the chance to evacuate, when so many Gazans are in desperate need of help. “Many people like me are torn between our family, our loved ones, our colleagues, our friends in Canada and the family we left behind.”

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