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Nasser hospital

Supply shortages and patient influxes leave Nasser hospital at breaking point

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Jerusalem - As the European Gaza hospital, in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, has shut down due to new evacuation orders from Israeli forces, Nasser hospital, the last tertiary hospital in south Gaza, risks being overwhelmed with mass casualties and wounded patients, warns Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Meanwhile, MSF teams working in Nasser hospital are seeing acute shortages of medical supplies, leaving people at risk of losing vital healthcare.  

Nasser hospital is receiving an increase in patients every day, putting all departments in the hospital above bed capacity, while our teams are running on emergency medical stocks. The paediatric department has a capacity of 56 beds, but on 3 July MSF teams received some 100 patients. In the past few days, our teams in the orthopaedic department have seen a doubling of the number of patients.

We have children lying on the floor. There are no more mattresses and no more beds, so patients are in the corridors lying on blankets and sitting on stairs. Cristina Roldán, MSF nurse activity manager

“We have children lying on the floor. There are no more mattresses and no more beds, so patients are in the corridors lying on blankets and sitting on stairs,” says MSF nurse activity manager Cristina Roldán. “The team has put nails on the wall so we can hang the intravenous fluid and medication bags we need to give patients, but it’s a very difficult situation, and the team is exhausted.”  

On 1 July, following evacuation orders by Israeli forces for the areas east and south of Khan Younis, the Ministry of Health decided to evacuate the European Gaza hospital as a precaution. Patients were transported in ambulances from the European Gaza hospital to Nasser hospital, but many were forced to leave and walk some 10 kilometres to get there. Approximately 250,000 people are at risk of displacement in Khan Younis, due to the evacuation order.

“We have heard that patients have travelled on their own, either arriving at Nasser hospital having been pushed there in hospital beds or having walked with the help of their families,” says Dr Javid Abdelmoneim, MSF medical team leader working in Nasser hospital.  

Nasser hospital
Destroyed buildings in Khan Younis, near Nasser hospital. Gaza Strip, Palestine, March 2024.

While dealing with an influx of new patients, Nasser hospital is also grappling with limited fuel. Patients at the hospital and those in surrounding field hospitals are at risk of losing lifesaving care. Nasser hospital is the main site for field hospitals to sterilise their equipment. If it loses electricity due to a lack of fuel, sterilisation becomes difficult, and the care provided at several field hospitals will come to a stop.

“Overall, it’s a comprehensive issue – from shortages of beds and supplies to the lack of surgeons,” says Dr Abdelmoneim. “With yet another hospital closed, patients’ lives are even more at risk.”

While hospitals in Gaza continue to grapple with acute shortages of supplies, trucks carrying MSF medical supplies were denied entry into the Strip by the Israeli authorities on 3 July due to ongoing fighting in the south. MSF has been unable to bring any medical supplies into Gaza since the end of April. 

The Israeli authorities must urgently open more crossing points to massively speed up the amount of aid getting through to Gaza. MSF also calls on all parties to ensure safe routes to move humanitarian assistance inside the Gaza Strip. This is the only way to avoid more preventable deaths.