“Red!” “Yellow!” “Green!”
The air at Al-Nasser Hospital was filled with the shouts of medical staff visiting patients for the first time from the besieged city. Red is bad. It was for the most seriously injured, but even the other codes offered little comfort. Hospitals are being deprived of the most basic necessities.
Generally speaking, it is very difficult to understand what is going on with the patients I photograph. In this case, the man with the medical form was said to have been rescued from the rubble. What’s his name? I have no idea. Is he still alive? I don’t know either.
But he seems to have two things that might work in his favor: He’s a Green Party member. And he got a space, even if it was just on the floor. Hospitals cannot afford to waste time on people who are clearly not going to survive.
It is difficult to describe the horror of Nasser Hospital these days.
Everything becomes blurry. People were running, people were screaming. Doctors and nurses rush from patient to patient. The family desperately searches for the missing person, hoping someone will stop and help them.
Every sense is attacked.
The smell is terrible. Like burnt skin, or maybe burnt tires, mixed with the smell of flesh. It’s a very strange and specific smell – I’m worried it may never leave me.
In the early days of the war, hospitals were busy, but the situation seemed manageable. Subsequently, Israeli troops prepared for a ground invasion, warning civilians in the north to evacuate, and a wave of refugees poured in.
One day I found myself next to a doctor who said that before the war, the hospital’s daily admission limit was 700. “Today, on an ordinary day without shelling, we have over 2,000 cases,” the doctor said.
Like many hospitals in Gaza, fuel shortages due to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades have left Nasser struggling to keep the lights on and equipment running. Much-needed food and medical supplies are said to be flowing into the area, but when I asked staff about this to Nasser, they told me: “We haven’t received anything yet.”
So the kids were shivering with fever, and without acetaminophen, nothing could be done for them. I often pass by the pediatric ward, which is always overcrowded.
That’s all I can tell you, this is what I saw with my own eyes.