Hospitals should be places of healing, not theaters of war.

By Kathy Kelly, The Progressive Magazine

Many decades ago in Chicago, I operated the telephone switchboard at a small hospital called Forkosh Memorial. The console of coils and plugs included a mirror so operators could keep an eye on the hospital entrance, which on weekends and evenings was also monitored by an elderly, unarmed security guard named Frank. He sat at a desk near the entrance with a ledger book. Security at the hospital consisted solely of Frank and me. Fortunately, nothing much ever happened. The possibility of an attack, invasion, or raid never even occurred to us. An aerial bombardment was unimaginable, like something out of War of the Worlds.

Palestinian Red Crescent first aid waiting to receive bodies from Al-Najjar Hospital in the city of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, on January 10, 2024.

Now, tragically, hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank have been attacked, invaded, bombed, and destroyed. News of additional Israeli attacks are being reported on a daily basis. Last week, Democracy Now! interviewed Dr. Yasser Khan, a Canadian ophthalmologist and eye surgeon who recently returned from a humanitarian surgical mission at the European Hospital in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

Dr. Khan spoke of bombings taking place every few hours, resulting in a constant influx of mass casualties. The majority of patients he treated were children aged two to seventeen. He saw horrific eye injuries, shattered faces, shrapnel wounds, abdominal injuries, limbs severed above the bone, and traumas caused by laser- guided missiles fired from drones. Amid the chaos, health care workers tended to patients while lacking basic equipment, including anesthesia. Patients lay on the ground in unsterile conditions, vulnerable to infection and disease. Most of them also suffered from severe hunger.

Read More