Doctors Without Borders confirmed – yesterday, Saturday, October 28, 2023 – that some surgical operations are being performed in the Gaza Strip without general anesthesia for patients due to the lack of anesthetic drugs.
The head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Jerusalem, which is responsible for the Palestinian territories, Leo Kanz, told Agence France-Presse, “We lack anesthesia drugs, we lack sedatives, and we lack opioid drugs. We perform many operations with half doses of anesthesia, which is terrible.” .
He added, “The person is not completely anesthetized as he should be. In some operations, sometimes, they are performed without anesthesia.”
Kanz spoke about an operation that was performed this week, “for a 10-year-old boy. We had to amputate half of his left foot under partial anesthesia, on the hospital floor in the corridor, because all the operating rooms were full.”
He added that “the child’s mother and sister were present, and watched the operation (…) on the ground,” referring to “unbearable pictures and videos of patients” sent by “Doctors Without Borders” teams.
He also stated that “a 12-year-old child was burned 60% of his body (…), and his bandages had to be changed… The doctors did this only under the influence of paracetamol.”
He pointed out that it is difficult for the medical staff to determine priorities according to the severity of the injuries.
“It is terrible in terms of managing pain and suffering,” he stressed, calling for an urgent end to the bombing and the entry of medical products into Gaza.
He added that among the victims, “we receive a very large number of children and women, which leads us to say that there was indiscriminate bombing.”
The head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in the Palestinian territories explained that he has limited communications with the organization’s teams in Gaza thanks to two satellite phones. He said, “It is almost impossible to coordinate our activities after the complete cut off of communications in the Gaza Strip” on Friday evening.
Kanz stressed that the Israeli army’s call on the residents of northern Gaza to migrate to the south of the Strip means “asking caregivers to abandon their patients.”
He continued, saying, “In any case, there is no place where we can be safe,” stressing that the bombing is also intense in the south.
Doctors Without Borders has about 230 employees in the Gaza Strip.
Kanz pointed out that “many have lost their homes… and spend a large part of the day searching for water and food,” and raised “the alarm about the suitability of water for drinking.”