Chicago area doctors volunteer at Gaza hospitals, describe desperate conditions

Leah Hope Image
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
Volunteers from Chicago area work in Gaza hospitals
Volunteers from MedGlobal say the lack of medicine and medical supplies is compounded by the shortage of food and safe drinking water.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Doctors from the Chicago area are among the volunteers trying to help the injured and sick that remain in Gaza.

Communication has been difficult, but ABC7 spoke with some of the MedGlobal volunteers by phone early Tuesday morning.

"We've seen people who were injured maybe two months ago are dying from injuries they had initially survived, but now they are dying because there are infections in the wounds they suffered," said Dr. Thaer Ahmad.

They said the lack of medicine and medical supplies is compounded by the shortage of food and safe drinking water.

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"These families have been pushed into an area where its winter, here so they are living without adequate food, they are living in the streets in the cold, there is no medication," said Dr. John Kahler. "We are trying to do what we can do but this is a public health catastrophe."

"There are signs of outbreaks due to waterborne diseases like hepatitis," said Dr. Zaher Sahloul. "There are about 8,000 cases I've seen, those around Rafa City, but things are really beyond description."

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They described crowded conditions in the clinics, as people have no place to go, and feeling the impact of shelling while they are in operating rooms, as well as the regular waves of mass casualties, some of them children.

"We will get more than a dozen patients within three to five minutes. Many of these patients are dead," said Dr. Chandra Hassan. "There are so many wounds, disabilities. They need tons of help. This is an absolutely apocalyptic event."

This is what the doctors could share in about 15 minutes before the connection was lost. They are supposed return later this week. They say they will leave with heavy hearts knowing they are leaving so many who are in pain.