The View From a Libyan Hospital
Posted on Aug 26, 2011
The morgues in Tripoli hospitals are overflowing with dead bodies, and doctors in just one hospital said they have been treating more than 500 patients a day for gunshot wounds.
Many of those doctors haven’t had the chance to leave the hospital for the six days that have passed since the revolt reached Tripoli on Sunday, and the environment is not one suited for productive medical care. On Saturday and Sunday, Tripoli Central Hospital was controlled by pro-Gadhafi forces. Soldiers roaming the halls would drag away patients who had been shot for protesting, never to be seen again. Doctors said they worried because they had run out of the most basic supplies, including antibiotics. But by early morning Monday, the hospital was suddenly under control of rebel forces. Volunteers swooped in with supplies and extra hands and the demographic of those receiving care changed swiftly from pro-Gadhafi wounded to rebel wounded.
Thursday was the bloodiest day yet, with bodies stacking up much faster than in previous days. And while the hospitals remain grossly understaffed, under-supplied and downright unclean, doctors expressed optimism that the fighting might end soon. —BF
The New York Times:
The Qaddafi government went into the hospitals and removed the televisions on which the doctors and others had furtively watched the independent news channel Al Jazeera. Closed-circuit television cameras appeared everywhere. Soldiers stationed in the hospital intimidated the doctors, threatening them with weapons and even hitting them, Dr. Masoud and others said.
Dr. Masoud said he kept working surreptitiously for the rebels. In preparation for the final uprising, he said, he and other doctors from Tripoli Central Hospital helped set up 15 makeshift field hospitals of a network of 30 in homes around Green Square, where they treated wounded rebels last weekend. That way they could avoid sending patients to Qaddafi-controlled hospitals and could ship those needing serious care out of town. “The rebels can’t come here or the Qaddafi people would shoot them,” Dr. Masoud said.
AP / Giulio Petrocco
Corpses accumulate in the Abu Salim hospital in Tripoli, Libya, on Friday, a grim testament to the chaos in the capital. Hospital floors were covered with shattered glass, blood and medical equipment as doctors did their best to treat the wounded.