A Gaza hospital evacuated, four fragile lives and a grim discovery

by J.P. Sottile


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Is there an upper limit on what’s an acceptable number of children who can be killed in this war? Is there any real limit on civilian deaths or on life-shattering destruction? Or are the limits gone forever? Are the Geneva Conventions now consigned to the dustbin of history?

A Gaza hospital evacuated, four fragile lives and a grim discovery



EXCERPT: The nurse in the besieged hospital was caring for five fragile babies. Infants, born premature, their parents’ whereabouts after a month of war unknown. Now he faced the most difficult decision of his life.
It was the height of Israel’s assault on northern Gaza last month, and al-Nasr Children’s Hospital was a war zone. The day before, airstrikes had cut off the Gaza City facility’s oxygen supplies. Israeli tanks had surrounded the hospital complex, and the Israel Defense Forces were calling and texting the doctors, urging them to leave.

But ambulances couldn’t safely reach al-Nasr to transport the wounded, and doctors refused to leave the facility without their patients.
The five premature babies were particularly vulnerable. They needed oxygen, and medication administered at regular intervals. There were no portable respirators or incubators to transport them. Without life support, the nurse feared, they wouldn’t survive an evacuation.

Then the IDF delivered an ultimatum, al-Nasr director Bakr Qaoud told The Washington Post: Get out or be bombarded. An Israeli official, meanwhile, provided an assurance that ambulances would be arranged to retrieve the patients.
The nurse, a Palestinian man who works with Paris-based Doctors Without Borders, saw no choice. He assessed his charges and picked up the strongest one — the baby he thought likeliest to bear a temporary cut to his oxygen supply. He left the other four on their breathing machines, reluctantly, and with his wife, their children and the one baby, headed south.

“I felt like I was leaving my own children behind,” said the nurse, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his privacy. “If we had the ability to take them, we would have, [but] if we took them off the oxygen they would have died.”
Two weeks later, the pause in hostilities allowed a Gazan journalist to venture into the hospital. In the neonatal intensive care unit, Mohammed Balousha made the awful discovery.

The decomposing bodies of the four babies. Eaten by worms. Blackened by mold. Mauled, Balousha said, by stray dogs.
“A terrible and horrific scene,” he told The Post. He took video.
The grim discovery was a reminder of the harrowing civilian toll of Israel’s war to eradicate Hamas, a campaign that has spared neither hospitals nor children. Thousands have been killed.


Newsvandal Reference




Ochelli.com References

Harrowing video shows premature babies dead in Gaza hospital


Five Dead Premature Babies Discovered in Gaza Hospital


Human rights group calls for international probe as footage filmed in Gaza City hospital ‘shows decomposing bodies of premature babies left to die in their beds after Israeli forces evacuated medics’