Gaza Hospital In Crisis

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There aren't enough ambulances to carry the casualties, who arrive in cars - and taxis, too. The beds are all busy at Al-Shifa Hospital; the courtyard's a crowded waiting room; the morgue is full.
CBS

As the invasion of Gaza by Israeli troops continues, conditions in Gaza are getting worse by the day. There's no power and little drinking water in Gaza City. And the main hospital is unable to provide relief from the growing humanitarian crisis, CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reports.


At the biggest hospital in Gaza, the emergency is overwhelming is the E.R.

There aren't enough ambulances to carry the casualties, who arrive in cars - and taxis, too. The beds are all busy at Al-Shifa Hospital; the courtyard's a crowded waiting room; the morgue is full, Roth reports.

The hospital's general manager, Hassan Khalaf, insists the majority of patients by far are civilians. CBS News reached him by cell phone.

"The latest figure is, the total killed people is 543 at the moment, and well, about 30 percent of them are woman and children," he said. "As regards injured there are 2,600 and 42 percent of them are women and children."

Eleven-year-old Lama Aliewa was brought in this afternoon. Her home was hit by an Israeli bomb. Her mother and four siblings were killed.

Her doctor is Norwegian. Mads Gilbert came to Gaza last week to help out, he says, in a hospital that's short of everything but misery.

"They have no spare parts, they have no monitors. They have not enough blood pressure machines, they don't have enough trolleys. They lack everything. And on top of this you have this huge disaster," he said.

The word "Shifa" means "healing." But Gilbert says Shifa Hospital is struggling to live up to its name.

"More people will die who could have been saved," he said. "We have to be even harder to select who we can treat and we have to put aside people who could otherwise die. That is the gruesome fact of the situation and we are not talking about the 17th century, we are talking about 2009."


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One other note: A senior Israeli intelligence official says Shifa Hospital isn't just a refuge for the sick and wounded. He claims it's also being used as a hideout for some leaders of Hamas. Hospital officials vehemently deny that.