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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid