Under Bombs, Gaza's Doctors Are Saving Lives and Tweeting Heartbreaking Stories Between Shifts

Al Shifa hospital's Dr Bassel Abuward sarcastically tweets "6m old (terrorist) infant being treated by Drs to remove shrapnel from his back."

Al Shifa hospital's Dr. Bassel Abuward sarcastically tweets, “6m old (terrorist) infant being treated by Drs to remove shrapnel from his back.”

Eight hospitals, nine medical clinics and 14 ambulances have been bombed since Israel launched an offensive in the densely populated, narrow 40-kilometer-long coastal strip Gaza. Home to 1.8 million Palestinians, the U.K.'s Prime Minister David Cameron has called Gaza “an open-air prison”. 

According to Gaza's Ministry of Health, in the last 20 days four of the 1,000 killed were health professionals and 14 of the 6,000 injured were health professionals.

Israeli military warplanes and tanks have also hit residential neighborhoods, schools and shelters. The U.N. estimates that more than 74 percent of those killed are civilians

Under the threat of bombs, doctors like Bassel Abuward, Belal, Saeed Kanafany, and Mads Gilbert are performing miracles at Gaza's largest hospital Al-Shifa. 

Hundreds of civilians are seeking help from Al-Shifa, the U.N.'s June 20 Gaza report explains:

The situation could not be more dire for the collapsed health sector in Gaza, with this latest conflict only adding to the burden on overwhelmed doctors and medical staff.

This is the third war in five and a half years endured by the people of Gaza. As with previous conflicts, there is nowhere for women, men and children to escape to. The Strip is densely populated and the seven-year Israeli-imposed blockade means that people’s movement to and from Gaza remains virtually banned.

Doctors at the overcrowded Al-Shifa hospital are witnessing immense tragedy. Multiple people are being treated on the same bed in emergency rooms. High-risk newborn infants are dying because of lack of specialized care.

On a particularly bloody day of the offensive targeting Shejaiya, one of Gaza's most congested neighborhoods, NBC's correspondent tweeted this from Shifa:

The doctors aren't just saving lives they are also telling the scale of the tragedy in Gaza to the world, by tweeting in between shifts about stories from the emergency rooms and the sights of destruction they see shuttling in between work and their homes.


Blogger and doctor Belal has been tweeting from @Belalmd12 between shifts and under bombs. He also appeared on the U.S. independent TV show Democracy Now and wrote a heartbreaking post for Electronic Intifada, an online news site that focuses on Palestine and its people: 

Dozens of people arrived to Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital, where I was on shift that night. Some arrived torn to pieces, some beheaded, some disfigured beyond recognition, although still alive and breathing […] The medical staff were lucky to get a break of less than half an hour. Some spent it watching the flares and bombs Israel was raining on the eastern neighborhoods of Gaza City, while others refueled with coffee or lay down for a few moments.

Some of his tweets:

After four young Palestinians boys were shot and killed by sophisticated Israeli aerial weaponry while they were playing on the beach, he tweeted:



Dr. Bassel Abuward has been tweeting photos from the hospitals, devastation around Gaza and retweeting messages of solidarity and support around the world. 



Dr. Saeed Kanafy has been tweeting about the tragedies and realities medical professionals have been enduring. 

"The moment you see Doctors crying , Is the moment when you realize all red lines have been crossed" @DrBasselAbuward

“The moment you see Doctors crying , Is the moment when you realize all red lines have been crossed” @DrBasselAbuward

The U.S. gives Israel about $3.1 billion in military assistance every year. Each time the Israeli military launches a destructive and lethal offensive in Gaza — this is the third one in six years — the UNRWA, a U.S.-funded humanitarian agency, deals with the aftermath.


Dr. Mads Frederick Gilbert

Norwegian Dr. Mads Frederick Gilbert, who works with Bassel, Saeed and Bilal at Al-Shifa hospital, published on open letter to President Obama on July 17, which has since gone viral and been republished on many websites:

‘Mr. Obama – do you have a heart?
I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.
I am convinced, 100%, it would change history.
Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.

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