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Infant dies in Gaza from lack of respiratory medicine because of Israeli siege

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported Tuesday that a five-day-old baby died in the intensive care unit of the Al-Hilal Emirati Hospital in Gaza. The infant, Hadia Mohammad Abu Hilal, died because of the lack of special medication required for the respiratory machine to function properly.

Her father, who is a pediatric surgeon at the European Hospital in Gaza, said that the medication needed was Calfactant, which is similar to a natural fluid in the lungs, and helps maintain effective breathing in premature infants whose lungs aren’t fully developed.

The death of the newborn was entirely preventable, according to medical experts, if the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit had been properly equipped with the basic medicine for treating premature infants.

This medicine, along with hundreds of others, has been prevented from entering Gaza by Zionist and Egyptian authorities for the past eleven years of siege.

Hundreds of Palestinian patients have died when they were prevented from leaving Gaza for treatment. Many more have died in hospitals in Gaza because of the lack of necessary medicine and equipment. Doctors and surgeons in Gaza complain of ancient equipment that they are unable to replace because of the Zionist and Egyptian siege, and the impossibility of finding spare parts for equipment when it gets broken.

Despite Israeli regime’s assurances that the siege allows for entry of certain medicines, and allows patients to leave, eyewitnesses on the ground contradict the Israeli regime’s claims. They say that patients must apply for difficult-to-obtain Israeli permits, wait for hours at remote military bases in the middle of the desert (which is impossible for many patients because of their conditions), and then wait months to cross the Gaza-Egypt border for treatment.




This article first appeared on Human Rights IR, and can be accessed here.

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