London- British doctor Nick Maynard was able to visit Gaza recently, along with 5 others in an urgent relief convoy, despite restrictions on the entry of medical and relief teams by the Israeli occupation army.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera Net, Maynard denied that there was any presence of the Islamic Resistance Movement.agitationOr the Palestinian armed factions in the hospitals where he worked, especially in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the city of Deir al-Balah, in the middle of Gaza stripwhich he served throughout the duration of his visit.
The British doctor said that there was no evidence of Israeli allegations that Hamas used hospitals as military bases, as Israel promotes.
Doctor Maynard is preparing to testify to the investigation team at the International Center for Justice for Palestinians as part of their file related to committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, as an eyewitness to these crimes.
And Dr. Nick Maynard, one of my most prominent surgeons United kingdomWhere he worked as a consultant and professor at the prestigious Oxford University Hospitals, and also as head of its cancer department. He contributed to establishing the Oxford Esophageal and Stomach Cancer Center in 1997.
Maynard began visiting the Gaza Strip regularly since 2010, as part of academic trips to teach medical teams in the Strip the latest international surgical techniques. These activities were attended by many Gaza students from the Islamic University, Al-Azhar University, and many hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
Al Jazeera Net met with Dr. Maynard in an interview about his trip to Gaza during the ongoing Israeli aggression. This is the text of the dialogue:
How was your last visit to Gaza different from others? Were you exposed to harassment?
My first visit to Gaza was in 2010, and the most prominent visits were in 2015, after the major war and severe bombing (it lasted 50 days in 2014). All my visits were for education and performing surgeries. I know exactly the harassment that Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta and his family were subjected to, but as for me, I was not exposed to anything. The Medical Relief Organization for the Palestinians (MAP) took all possible precautions and we followed the instructions.
But the entry this time was not sufficient. Only me and 5 others were allowed to enter, but I personally did not face any pressure.
All medical teams that go to Gaza have their entry permission controlled through the Israeli side. We have many British medical teams that have gone to Gaza, and the “Medical Relief for the Palestinians” organization is keen not to make things difficult for these medical teams wishing to go. To the sector in the future, and we are planning larger teams, but this will not be enough.
What is happening now is a first aid response and a minor distress call compared to the extent of the destruction, and there will never be enough numbers until there is a ceasefire.
The number of medical personnel allowed to enter is not sufficient in terms of the hospitals’ needs and the number of wounded who need medical care. There are patients other than the wounded, such as patients with cancer, diabetes, heart, kidney, and chronic diseases. They need medical care along with the wounded from the bombing.
I was keen to encourage more experienced medical staff to go to Gaza through awareness campaigns. I believe that the Medical Relief Organization has a wonderful plan by supporting local people from Gaza to care for foreign staff and provide them with protection.
There is no safe place in Gaza, but we were as safe as possible, however I plan to visit Gaza at least two weeks every two months after retirement.
My home country will remain the UK, but I plan to make several return visits to ensure that Gaza's health system is built.
Unfortunately, with the unprecedented scale of destruction, I believe that rebuilding will continue for years until Gaza returns to what it was before the seventh of last October. Only with a ceasefire will hospitals need months to provide the minimum medical service.
What is the extent of the destruction in hospitals compared to previous visits?
I was there in 2015 after the bombing, and all my visits to Gaza were during wars and as a result of Israeli bombing, and I do not know what Gaza looks like without bombing.
In May 2023, I was on a visit for a week, during which 4 days included heavy bombing. They closed the borders and we were stuck in Gaza. Meanwhile, all the surgical operations planned during the short week of our visit were cancelled, and we were unable to perform any surgeries under the heavy bombing, and I worked for a day. Just one, and then we stopped and asked for ours United nations The evacuation, although it was intense and terrifying at the time, can never be compared to what is happening now.
What is happening now is horrific. Most of the hospitals are out of service, and evaluation amidst the bombing is almost impossible. I participated in 12 to 15 operations, but I saw hundreds of patients. There was enough anesthesia for major surgeries, but there was not any painkillers, especially the necessary strong painkillers. No medications required after surgeries.
As for surgical instruments and medical supplies in operating rooms, there is a severe shortage of them, which forced us to try to adapt to what was available, and this was a difficult challenge.
What challenges do medical and relief teams in Gaza face now?
In addition to the shortage of surgical tools and many medications, there is a large outbreak of cases of pollution of various types, and these rates increase with infection and waiting to receive treatment, and due to overcrowding and congestion of people in small spaces, due to the repercussions of the war.
There are no buildings, just rubble, no sanitation, no clean drinking water, and people are being starved, exposing them to severe malnutrition and thus weakened immune systems, which slows any recovery process and contributes to widespread pollution. There we saw terrifying contamination of the wounds.
Many doctors and surgeons told me about their work on wounds from which worms had emerged. I did not work on them personally, but I worked on them myself to treat an alarming level of wound contamination. This degree of contamination means requiring a longer period of clinical confinement in a hospital that is already crowded with patients, and who unfortunately suffer from severe weight loss. Due to pollution, malnutrition and immunodeficiency.
If a limb or part of the body needs to be amputated due to infection, a larger part of the infected limb is removed to save the patient’s life, and patients may lose their lives due to the contamination that may spread in the blood.
Sometimes the patient does not need amputation, yet the medical team is forced to do so, due to infection of the wound, and this is a procedure that could have been avoided.
However, if the wounds extend to the chest and abdomen, and these are the most common wounds that I have worked on, this means a longer than usual period in the hospital, and greater health complications for long periods.