Nurse makes heart-wrenching choice in Gaza hospital targeted by Israel
In an Israeli assault on northern Gaza, a besieged hospital cared for five premature babies, their parents’ whereabouts unknown after a month of war.
As the hospital faced a dire situation, the IDF forced the staff to leave, guaranteeing ambulances to retrieve the patients. Fearing for the babies’ survival during evacuation, a Palestinian nurse working with Doctors Without Borders was forced to leave four infants behind on life support, in anticipation that they would be safely retrieved. However, after two weeks, a journalist discovered the bodies of the not yet evacuated infants, who had tragically perished.
This horrific event serves as a grim reminder of the catastrophic civilian toll in Israel’s campaign to eradicate Hamas in the region. Thousands have lost their lives, including thousands of children, since the onset of the hostilities in October. The backlash from the conflict has also targeted Gaza’s health care infrastructure, with hospitals being held in the crosshairs of the military campaign.
In the case of al-Nasr Children’s Hospital, Israeli forces swiftly issued an ultimatum to evacuate, but the promised evacuation and safety measures failed to transpire. Despite communication with COGAT and the Red Cross, attempts at securing safe passage for the infants and patients were futile.
Although the babies’ families could not be contacted, it is known that their parents had assumed the hospital was a safe haven during the hostilities. The nurse, who had to leave the infants behind, eventually managed to transport the strongest baby to a larger hospital in the region in hope of saving a life.
Tragically, the premature babies at al-Nasr Hospital, left in hopeless conditions during the war, became one of the many tragedies that epitomize the carnage and despair inflicted on the region and the devastating impact on innocent lives. As the nurse’s heart-wrenching story underscores, the toll of war on civilians, especially the most vulnerable, is immeasurable and unthinkable.