New Delhi: Last month, a Gazan journalist ventured into the hospital to find an awful visual: decomposing bodies of four babies, eaten by worms, blackened by mold, mauled by stray dogs.
Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital director Bakr Qaoud told The Washington Post that at the height of Israel’s assault on northern Gaza in November, everybody was ordered to evacuate.
The whereabouts of the parents of the infants, born premature, were not known after a month of war.
There were a total of five infants Qaoud was taking care of. All of them were vulnerable.
They needed oxygen, and medication administered at regular intervals. There were no portable respirators or incubators to transport them. Without life support, the nurse feared, they wouldn’t survive an evacuation, the newspaper reported.
However, after the Israeli Defense Force delivered an ultimatum on November 10, he had no choice but to carry the baby he thought will survive with a temporary cut to his oxygen supply. He had to leave the other four babies, reluctantly, with their breathing machines on.
Israeli forces told al-Nasr’s staff they had to leave, according to Qaoud. “They sent us a map for a safe route,” he told The Post in a WhatsApp message. “They gave us half an hour to go out. Otherwise, they will bombard the hospital.”
However, the staff was promised that ambulances will be sent back to take the patients from al-Nasr and al-Rantisi, a pediatric cancer centre.