Stories from Gaza Conflict

Stories from patients who were treated at Makassed Hospital following the Gaza bombardment


Emergency Relief

In response to the devastating 50-day Israeli military assault on Gaza, Welfare Association has been providing urgent support to emergency services and to some of the worst affected families in Gaza. One of the hospitals we provided urgent assistance to was Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem (the main referral hospital for Palestinians), which had opened its doors to help treat the increasing numbers of patients from Gaza. The following are the stories of some of the patients who were treated at Makassed Hospital.

Yasmeen’s Story:

Twenty-three year old Yasmeen, lost her eyesight and suffered several other injuries during the indiscriminate shelling in Gaza. On the 29 July 2014, her uncle’s home in Jabaliya refugee camp – which was sheltering numerous family members who had left their own homes looking for a safe refuge in the wake of the heavy bombardment – came under attack. As a result of the shelling, seven family members were killed; including her 6 year old daughter Zeinab and husband Khaled. While all the others suffered serious injuries, including Yasmeen’s two other children, Fares (5 years old), and Hasan (2 years old). The remaining wounded family members were then taken to hospitals in Gaza, Jerusalem, and Turkey – wherever there was space for them to be treated.

Yasmeen, carrying her daughter Zeinab was getting ready to leave the house when she was hit directly by an Israeli shell, causing injury to many parts of her body, and severe burns to her eyes, leading to the temporary loss of her eyesight.

She said: 

“As we were preparing dinner at my uncle’s house, we were taken by surprise when an Israeli shell landed in the kitchen injuring my uncle’s wife who fell to the ground bleeding. We all ran out to hide at the bottom of the steps, I carried Zeinab quickly and this is when another shell hit the front door of the house injuring me in the thigh and causing severe bleeding. We were no longer able to see each other because of the thickness and density of the smoke, and I started losing my eyesight.”

Following six surgeries, the doctors were able to extract the shrapnel from her left eye, and to treat the fragmented bones in her thigh. Yasmeen will need more operations and physiotherapy to be able to see clearly and walk, and so will remain to complete her treatment at Makassed Hospital.

Fares’ Story:

Six-year-old Fares was found buried under the rubble of his uncle’s house in the Zeitoun neighbourhood in southern Gaza on 9 July, after a rocket hit the house. He was injured by rocket shrapnel which cracked his skull leaving him in a coma for a few days. He is suffering from severe shock and post-traumatic stress. His mother, Samira, left Fares’ three brothers and four sisters in Gaza to accompany her young son to Makassed Hospital for urgent treatment.

“I heard the bombardment and then saw my sister-in-law running so I rushed to the house.” Samira says, who was nearby in her own home at the time. “We had to clear the rubble to find Fares. He was lying still like he was dead.”

Fares suffered internal bleeding in his brain after being hit by a piece of metal, and was treated at Al Shifa Hospital, where they managed to stop the bleeding. He was then transferred to Makassed for additional care and follow-up treatment.

Shadi and Bassam’s Story:

On 1 August Shadi (26 years old), his wife Asma (19 years old), their son Bassam (3 years old), and daughter Israa (2 years old) fled their home in Rafah Refugee Camp, in South Gaza, with four other family members, hoping to find a safer place to stay during the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire.

However, on their way, they were hit by a rocket which resulted in three of them (Shadi’s sister, brother and his brother’s wife) being killed instantly, while the other five were very seriously wounded.

Shadi and his son, who are sharing a room at Makassed’s Orthopedic Department, both had to undergo leg amputations. Shadi also suffered from internal bleeding in both lungs and will need skin graft surgery on his remaining leg due to severe burns he sustained. Bassam, who celebrated his birthday in hospital, also lost the use of his right eye following the attack.

Shadi’s wife Asma and their daughter Israa were treated at Al Ahli Hospital in Hebron. Israa suffered from burns whilst Asma had to undergo a double leg amputation and also suffered a miscarriage.

*Names have been changed