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A veteran war surgeon chronicling the horror unfolding inside Gaza hospitals

By Press TV Staff Writer

“Amputated the arm and leg of a 6-year-old girl. Then had to tell her mother,” Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, a British-Palestinian plastic surgeon, posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday.

Sitta was in the besieged Gaza Strip, busy attending to patients at Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza when the Israeli regime launched its bombing campaign on the territory on October 7.

Over the past five weeks, as the genocidal campaign gained momentum, taking the lives of thousands of Palestinians, mostly children and women, the award-winning doctor refused to leave his people.

He divided his time between different hospitals, performing emergency reconstructive surgeries, sometimes without electricity and many times without the administration of anesthesia.

On October 17, as Dr. Sitta and other doctors were treating critically wounded patients at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, a powerful explosion ripped through the hospital complex.

Immediately after the blast, the Palestinian-British doctor appeared outside the hospital with other doctors and convened a press conference that will be remembered for a long time.

The doctors stood among the dead bodies and remains of the victims of the Israeli airstrike, and spoke of the horror the occupying regime was unleashing on the people of Gaza as the world watched mutely.

“We were performing surgery at the Baptist hospital when a strong explosion occurred and the ceiling fell on the operating room…This is a massacre,” Dr. Sitta remarked.

Over the past five weeks, Dr. Sitta has been active on social media, sending out tweets every day, which provide a sneak peek into the crisis that is unfolding in the besieged coastal territory.

Earlier on Saturday, he shared an image of a shrapnel that he said “went in through the back of an 11-year-old and perforated his bowels”, requiring two-hour surgery.

His social media posts show the scale and gravity of the situation in the Gaza Strip, beyond what is being reported in the Western media.

“The wounded are no longer being treated for their injuries. They are being stabalised the best they could. Delayed treatment, especially in children, leads to delayed reconstruction and eventually increased disability,” Dr. Sitta wrote on X on Friday.

According to the Gaza health ministry, the majority of victims include children. In a tweet on Friday, the Palestinian-British doctor pointed to the health-related crisis facing the territory’s young population.

“With the collapse of all 4 pediatric hospitals, children with chronic illnesses do not have access to specialist medical care. We have had children with diabetes, asthma and autoimmune disease seek medical care at the ER at Al Ahli,” he wrote.

In one of his tweets, he referred to how unsafe it had become even for humanitarian workers to move from one place to another amid the Israeli regime’s relentless bombardment.

“Unable to return to Shifa from Ahli hospital. Roads unsafe. Missle attacks on multiple schools around Ahli Hospital. Our ER inundated with wounded,” Dr. Sitta wrote on Friday.

He was also one of the first doctors to announce that the Al-Shifa Hospital, the biggest healthcare facility in the besieged territory, was closed due to Israeli attacks and fleeing staff.

“Shifa Hospital has collapsed. Wounded and staff leaving in droves. Missile attacks this morning on outpatient dept. which housed internally displaced,” he tweeted.

He later took to X again to inform that he was finding it difficult to return to Al-Shifa Hospital from Al-Ahli Hospital as roads were “unsafe” and missiles were pounding on areas around the hospitals.

On Saturday, Gaza’s health ministry announced that surgeries at the largest hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip had been suspended after it ran out of fuel amid Israeli attacks.

Amid the mounting death toll and full morgues across the besieged territory, refrigerators have been used in recent days to store corpses.

Dr. Sitta, in a tweet on Thursday, shared the image of one such “refrigerated food truck” that was brought into Al-Shifa Hospital “to act as an additional morgue.”

Earlier that day, in a haunting tweet, he wrote that there are around 120 “wounded children with no surviving families” currently at the Al-Shifa Hospital, who do not even have distant relatives surviving.

“The sheer terror of not knowing if your child is alive,” Dr. Sitta wrote.

With hospitals bursting with patients, Dr. Sitta has had to perform multiple surgeries every day. For example, on Wednesday, he wrote that he had to perform 11 back-to-back surgeries that day.

“11 broken bodies, 11 shattered lives, 11 stories of heartbreak, sorrow and grief over loved ones slain 11 Palestinians betrayed by a humanity that sides with powerful against the righteous, 11 unknown futures without loved ones,” he tweeted.

“The scale of the carnage is reshaping Palestinian society as we speak. Middle age grandparents caring for the orphaned toddlers of their slain children,” he wrote a day earlier.

Dr. Sitta's website describes him as "one of the world’s leading specialists in Craniofacial surgery (facial deformities), aesthetic surgery, cleft lip and palate surgery and trauma-related injuries."

"Professor Abu-Sittah is a passionate and active humanitarian. A British Palestinian, he has worked as a war surgeon in numerous conflict zones including Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Lebanon and the Gaza Strip," reads his personal website.

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