Dozens of Gaza Arabs are being treated in Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital at the same time terrorists are bombarding the city. The medical facility, the largest on the southern coast, is in the line of rocket fire, and medical staff often have to stop caring for patients and run for cover during air rain warnings.
The 500-bed Barzilai Hospital has close ties with Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, Barzilai deputy director Dr. Ron Lobel told the Associated Press. "It might seem completely absurd, but we have the privilege to be doctors. Our medical ethics do not distinguish between patients. We treat whoever needs to be treated," he said.
Our medical ethics do not distinguish between patients. We treat whoever needs to be treated.
One Gaza Arab woman refused to identify herself to AP because of fear of retribution by terrorists if it were known that her two-month-old granddaughter is being treated in an Israeli hospital. "I am very sad and hurt. We want peace, not war," she said as Israel began retaliating after hundreds of Arab rocket and mortar attacks, some of them lethal.
Essential departments, including geriatric and maternity wards, have gone underground in a bomb shelter as Kassam and Grad Katyusha rockets exploded throughout the city Monday.
Twenty-four Israelis, most of them Israeli Arabs and Bedouin construction workers, are being treated for wounds suffered in a powerful explosion that killed one of the workers at an unfinished building. One other person was in critical condition.
The hospital has activated its war room, with direct lines to security personnel.
"This is something that we've been preparing for," said Dr. Lobel. "In a city like Ashkelon, one rocket is enough to create a multiple-casualty scenario for us."