News / Africa

Hospitals Struggle to Care for Wounded in Libya Fighting

The staff copes with a constant flow of patients in and out of the Jalah Hospital in Benghazi, in eastern Libya
The staff copes with a constant flow of patients in and out of the Jalah Hospital in Benghazi, in eastern Libya

Multimedia

As fighting continues between troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammer Gadhafi and opposition forces determined to oust him, the dead and the wounded fill hospitals. VOA’s Scott Bobb recently visited the main hospital in the opposition-held city of Benghazi, in eastern Libya.

It is late morning in the intensive care unit of Benghazi’s Jalah hospital. The pace never seems to slow . The staff copes with a constant flow of patients in and out of the 200-bed facility, the largest hospital in eastern Libya.

Nurse Cora from the Philippines, who does not want to give her last name, says that at the peak of the fighting several weeks ago, this hospital received up to seven dead a day and more than 10 wounded. Many were young people who had confronted government tanks.

"No words can describe what happened. We saw dead. We saw these patients come with only half a body because of this. It’s very horrible," she said.

Abdelrahman Ahmed is lying in a bed in a ward surrounded by his family. His body is wrapped from the shoulders to the toes in white bandages.

A 15-year old student, he joined the opposition forces east of Benghazi. He was burned over 90 percent of his body when pro-Gadhafi troops threw a fire bomb into his truck.

Ahmed says he is fighting because the Gadhafi government jailed his cousin 11 years ago and refuses to release him despite three court orders to do so.

He wants to return to battle. He says since he was born he could see that Mr. Gadhafi was a tyrant. He says the Libyan leader is always killing and oppressing and, "I am no better than the people who have already died for this cause."



The spokeswoman for the Red Cross, Iman Moankar, says the Benghazi hospital staff is so professional that her group has been able to withdraw its emergency teams from here. It now provides mainly surgical kits and medicine to this facility.

But she says conditions are desperate in the opposition-held city of Misrata, 200 kilometers east of Tripoli, and several towns west of Benghazi where the fighting is intense.

"Our priority is to have access to these areas affected by the fighting where humanitarian aid and humanitarian workers are not able to have a safe access to assess and address the needs immediately," said Moankar.

The head of health services for the opposition’s fledgling administration, Dr. Jabril al-Howeidi, says his hospitals can handle primary care, but not major injuries - bone fractures, head wounds and spinal injuries. He says they are receiving adequate medical supplies from international donors for now.

"Our medical supply, in general, it’s OK. But if this situation stays [persists] for more than one month, then we’ll be in crisis," he said.

In addition to the war wounded, the hospitals’ overworked staff must also deal with heart attacks, car accidents and other everyday cases.

Back in the ward, 26-year-old mechanic Awad Ajela also is covered in bandages. He was wounded in the same car bombing as Abdelrahman Ahmed.

He kisses a flag, independent Libya’s first flag that the opposition has adopted. He asks for it to be spread over him. He is desperate to get well so he can rejoin the resistance.

He says he is prepared to be burned three or four times again, and shed his last drop of blood, to get rid of Gadhafi.

Ajela and his friends are being transferred to a special burns hospital in Egypt. But their beds will soon be filled by new patients who arrive daily from the Libyan battle fields.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More