When I’m not in the pharmacy gathering stock for the clinic / operating theatre or doing the associated paperwork, I enjoy spending my time in the clinic talking with the staff about their work, life in Gaza and the patients they are helping.
One of the stories that struck me right through the heart was the bombing of a home for disabled people in Beit Lahiya (northern Gaza). When the person telling me the story said this I had to ask him to repeat himself… certainly I could not have heard that right…. bombing a home for the handicapped?
Unfortunately, I did hear him right… the 31-year-old woman with cerebral palsy laying on the gurney in front of me was burned in that bombing. She’s a resident of the Mabaret Palestine Society which was bombed on the sixth day of the war. She’s been under treatment in the MSF clinic when it has been safe enough to bring people to the clinic. She’s healing well and comes to the clinic three days a week to have the dressing on her legs changed.
As it turns out she is one of the lucky ones. When the bomb struck just before dawn only six people were in the home, five residents and a caretaker. Since it was a weekend most residents were visiting their families. Two people died. One person has recovered from their wounds, one remains in the hospital in Gaza, one sought care in Egypt, and the other is our patient.
As it turns out there was a smaller explosion that preceded the bombing called a “roof knocking.” It’s a way to warn occupants to leave the building but, unfortunately, these residents were not physically capable of escaping.