The storming of Al-Aqsa: ‘The patients kept on coming like waves’ | Israel-Palestine conflict


On April 15, Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem and injured greater than 150 Palestinians, together with youngsters. MSF trauma surgeon Carlo Brugiotti was a part of the medical group that assessed and stabilised the injured. Right here, he displays on what he noticed that day.

It was 6:30 within the morning on April 15 once I heard my colleagues Andrea and Otero speaking outdoors my bed room. It was clear from the urgency of their voices that one thing severe had occurred. Once I went outdoors, Andrea informed me that the Palestinian Crimson Crescent had referred to as and we wanted to get to work instantly. Israeli forces had stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem throughout morning prayers.

Andrea is an Italian emergency physician and Otero is a Spanish intensive care physician and anesthetist. I’m a trauma surgeon. Collectively we type a part of the MSF trauma group primarily based in Hebron, within the Palestinian Territories. That Friday, along with two different MSF medical doctors, we got down to assist assess and stabilise the individuals who had been injured.

Our group rushed to a trauma level near the hospital to deal with triage sufferers, the place these with extreme accidents had been transported by ambulance from the mosque.

Inside minutes, the primary ambulance arrived. The affected person had a big bleeding head wound the place Israeli police had struck him. Then two extra ambulances arrived. One of many sufferers was a younger lady, shot within the again with a rubber bullet – blunt-force trauma that might have fractured her ribs or different bones. We checked her lungs with an ultrasound and fortunately, they had been advantageous. We moved on to a different affected person with a wound on his decrease again. He had been hit with a baton and was in numerous ache. He couldn’t transfer his legs. We suspected a spinal fracture. After stabilising him, we determined to switch him to the closest hospital for an X-ray. We puzzled how badly he should have been crushed.

Immediately, the lady with the rubber bullet damage fell on the ground having misplaced consciousness. Her very important indicators had been regular, but she shook like a leaf. She was having an nervousness assault. Otero gave her medication to calm her. I considered how horrible her expertise should have been and the way lengthy the recollections of the day’s violence would keep together with her.

We noticed one other affected person who was burned within the face by a stun grenade. This weapon is designed to provide a blind flash of sunshine however when fired too intently could cause a horrible burn. Two extra youngsters arrived, one with an enormous lower on the pinnacle. Andrea took care of him, whereas Otero and I examined the opposite little one with a wound very near his proper eye. He couldn’t bear in mind how he was injured. We suspected a fracture of the cheekbone and transferred him to the hospital.

At about 10am we obtained an replace from the Crimson Crescent: the overall variety of injured individuals had reached 150. Not less than 5 had been in vital situation and had been taken to an working theatre to restore in depth harm to their faces after being shot by rubber bullets. These bullets, which regularly have a metallic core, can disable, disfigure and even kill.

The sufferers saved on coming like waves. We tried to stabilise them as rapidly as attainable to empty the beds for brand spanking new arrivals. Typically it appeared just like the ambulances had stopped arriving, then abruptly two or three would come directly.

By 11:30am the move of sufferers had lastly ebbed. The entire injured individuals had been taken care of and it was time to have a break. Andrea, Otero and I made a decision to go for a espresso near the sphere hospital on the Mount of Olives. On the best way, an unimaginable picture appeared in entrance of our eyes: a beautiful view of Jerusalem. We stood there and puzzled how a spot so magnificent might current the scenes of violence we had witnessed just some hours earlier.

Regardless of what number of trauma sufferers you see or warfare zones you’re employed in, each time you deal with an individual who has been violently harmed by one other human being, it’s not possible to not really feel a deep ache within the soul. The Roman proverb from Plautus, two thousand years in the past, was proper: “Homo homini lupus” – man is a wolf to man.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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