Infants Encased in Life-Preserving, Foil Incubators Evacuated from Al Shifa Hospital
Premature babies at Al Shifa Gaza’s largest hospital are being wrapped in foil and placed next to hot water in a desperate attempt to keep them alive, as Israeli forces continue to pound surrounding neighborhoods and remaining fuel reserves run out, rendering the facility inoperable.
Staff at Al-Shifa hospital fought to keep the newborns alive after oxygen supplies ran out, forcing them to transport the babies one-by-one from the neonatal unit’s incubators to another location within the hospital.
Medical center director Dr. Muhammad Abu Salmiya relayed to Al-Araby TV on Sunday, “I was with them a while ago. They are now exposed, because we have taken them out of the incubators. We wrap them in foil and put hot water next to them so that we can warm them.”
Several infants died in the intensive care unit and nursery over the past 24 hours, according to the doctor, amid Israel’s continuing bombardment and blockade of Gaza.
Over the weekend, conditions at Al Shifa deteriorated into a catastrophic situation, with staff, patients, and thousands of sheltering residents trapped inside due to heavy fighting, despite Israel’s insistence that it is safe for people to leave the hospital by following an evacuation corridor eastwards out of the complex.
Due to a shortage of electricity, none of the operating rooms at the hospital are operational, according to Abu Salmiya, who added, “Whoever needs surgery dies, and we cannot do anything for him.”
Al Shifa is not alone. The Palestine Red Crescent Society stated on Sunday that Al-Quds Hospital, another important hospital in Gaza City, is now closed.
A freelance writer inside Al-Shifa described dozens of unburied bodies, ambulances unable to transport the injured, and life-support systems unable to function due to a lack of power. Medics are operating by candlelight, food is being rationed, and residents are beginning to drink pipe water, according to the writer.
The Israeli military has repeatedly stated that Hamas is infiltrating civilian infrastructure and that it will strike Hamas “wherever necessary.”
According to the WHO, Al Shifa has been without power for three days. “Regrettably, the hospital is not functioning as a hospital anymore,” the statement read.
International calls for a cease-fire continue to increase, as world leaders apply pressure to Israel over the rising civilian death toll, and as evidenced by massive pro-Palestinian rallies in cities across the world. However, Netanyahu stressed that the only cease-fire he would accept is “…one in which our hostages are released.”
According to Palestinian health experts, Israeli airstrikes have killed over 11,000 people, and a fuel blockade has exacerbated the humanitarian catastrophe by shutting down hospitals, water systems, bakeries, and other facilities which rely on electricity.