34 patients die in Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital as oxygen machine shuts down

Gaza: At least 34 patients have died in the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza — the largest in the enclave — as a result of the shutdown of oxygen machines caused by a fuel outage, the Hamas-run Palestinian Health Ministry said.

In a statement late Monday, the Ministry said that seven newborns were among the dead, adding it was difficult to evacuate patients and injured people from the hospital, which is under siege and frequent attacks from the Israeli army, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Al-Shifa Hospital currently has more than 60 patients in its intensive care units, over 40 infants in its neonatal ward, and somen 500 patients in its kidney dialysis department, according to the Ministry.

As of Monday night, there were some 600-650 inpatients, 200-500 staff, and 1,500 internally displaced persons believed to have remained in the hospital.

Among the patients at heightened risk of death were reportedly 36 babies in incubators and a number of kidney dialysis patients.

The attacks continue as the Israeli military has repeatedly alleged that Palestinian armed groups operate a military compound within and underneath Al-Shifa.

But the hospital management and the Health Ministry have strongly denied these allegations and have called for an independent investigation.

As of Tuesday morning, all but one of the hospitals in Gaza City and northern Gaza are reportedly out of service due to the lack of power, medical consumables, oxygen, food and water, compounded by bombardments and fighting in their vicinities.

The Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza city, which currently accommodates over 500 patients, is reportedly the sole medical facility able to receive patients, amid increasing shortages and challenges.

While the Israeli authorities have called for the evacuation of hospitals in the north, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, this would be a “death sentence”, given that the entire medical system is collapsing and hospitals in southern Gaza cannot admit more patients.

On Monday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said that attempts to evacuate the al-Quds Hospital, the second-largest hospital in Gaza, failed due to “continuing shelling and shooting.”

According to a statement, a Red Crescent evacuation convoy, accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross, returned after setting off Monday from Khan Younis towards al-Quds Hospital.

“The convoy was forced to return due to the dangerous conditions in the Tal al-Hawa area, where the hospital is located,” said the Red Crescent.

“The medical staff, patients and their companions are still trapped inside the hospital without food, water or electricity,” it said.

Meanwhile, active ground operations in the heart of Gaza city and near the hospitals in North Gaza governorate, have halted the movement of rescue teams and ambulances as a result of the fierce fighting.

Since Hamas attaked Israel on October 7, 11,078 people have died in Gaza, 1,200 in Israel and 185 in the West Bank.

IANS

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