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Hospitals struggle to cope with injured protesters

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(11 Apr 2018) LEADIN:Gaza's hospitals are struggling to deal with the sharp rise in injured protesters with gunshot wounds.Hundreds have been admitted in the last two weeks alone.STORYLINE:This hospital is struggling.On top of the daily power cuts and lack of medical supplies, they are now dealing with a surge in shooting victims.  There have been 1,296 Palestinians shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers, including snipers, in the past two weeks of mass protests on the Gaza-Israel border, according to a computerised count by the Gaza Health Ministry. An additional 1,554 Gaza residents were treated for tear gas inhalation or injuries by rubber-coated steel pellets. In addition, 32 Palestinians were killed during this period, including 26 in border demonstrations.The Israeli military has disputed the Gaza count of wounded, saying that at most dozens were struck by Israeli fire. But it has not offered supporting evidence and did not respond to requests for comment.Mohammad Al Hawari, a protester who was injured near the border with Israel, asks why the Israeli military use live ammunition on protesters."Why (do we get shot)? We are going peacefully, we are not going to fight you (Israel army) with weapons. All that we are chanting is the right of return and refugees," he says from his hospital bed, surrounded by his family."You have your weapon, what do you think? I will enter and fight you with a stone? I won't fight you with a stone! You are fighting us with a weapon whose name I've never heard of."Yousef Al Qatrawi is another Palestinian protester, shot east of Bureij Camp near the border with Israel. He was hit by a bullet near the border fence."It passed through the thigh, broke the bone of my leg and entered the other leg and cut the major artery. I spent 20 minutes bleeding, they didn't give any chance for people to help me. After 20 minutes the young kids risked themselves and carried me without a stretcher." More bloodshed on the border is likely, with organisers calling for protests to continue until mid-May and Israel saying it won't change its rules of engagement.Already, the recent surge of patients with gunshot wounds has severely taxed Gaza's hospitals and clinics. "The Ministry of Health hospitals have received, in the last two weeks, more than 3000 cases. More than 1000 cases were shot with live ammunition bullets, of course causing several kind of injuries," says Dr. Ayman Sahabani, Health Ministry spokesperson.He says many of those hit risk being partly or completely disabled.The casualty figures are at the heart of an intensifying debate over the military's open-fire orders, branded as unlawful by rights groups. Gaza's health system has been buckling under years of shortages of essential medicines and equipment caused by the blockade and Hamas' power struggle with the rival Palestinian Authority, doctors said. The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority accuses Hamas of selling medicines it sends, while Hamas accuses it of delaying medicine shipments.The violence comes at a time when 40 percent of basic medicines are no longer in stock in Gaza hospitals, according to the World Health Organisation. Equipment is also in short supply. "The work should be to help the health sector by sending medicine, medical supplies, staff, or even delegations and opening the (travel) terminals. Now there are more than 105 patients who were injured seriously and needed to be transferred abroad. This will risk their lives", says Sahabani."Until now all terminals are closed and there is no way for those who are seriously injured to leave (for treatment)."The protests have been organised by Hamas but have also been fuelled by widespread despair among the territory's two million people.You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork

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AP Archive 4148558 f0906924ce5682f6aa13f393b93dad34 MEEX Gaza Hospital Palestinian territories Middle East Gaza Strip Israel Gaza Government and politics General news Health Business
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