In my four decades and three years of service as a medical professional at Ban Medical Center, I've become intimately acquainted with the ebb and flow of daily life, particularly on that fateful 7th of October. Awakening at the crack of dawn, 6:30 AM, our tranquil community was abruptly interrupted by the resonating alarm. For us, it wasn't an unfamiliar sound, given our proximity to the tumultuous border, where discerning between Kasam-grade rockets and the unsettling echoes of Israeli and Palestinian strife had become second nature.
Yet, on that particular morning, a disconcerting deviation from the norm manifested itself in the form of gunfire, a dissonance we were unaccustomed to. Swiftly comprehending that this was no routine occurrence, the air pregnant with the urgency of the situation, I promptly contacted the hospital. The nature of the imminent calamity was uncertain, but I foresaw a deluge of casualties. As the Director of Emergency and Disaster Management, I assumed the mantle of preparing the hospital for the impending storm.
Cloaked in my uniform, I descended upon the hospital, an institution now seasoned in war preparedness and mass casualty response. In the parlance of calamity, envisioning an influx of 50 or 60 casualties is considered significant. However, on this unprecedented day, the deluge surpassed all expectations—over 220 injured streamed in within the initial hours.
Situated a mere 12 kilometers from the Gaza border, our hospital, under ordinary circumstances, serves as a referral hub for Palestinian patients. The proximity, however, transforms us into a perilous bullseye during conflicts. Regrettably, our hospital has weathered direct hits on multiple occasions—four times to be exact. The first, on that ominous night of the 7th, obliterated the bridge linking the old and new hospital buildings, incapacitating five of our operating theaters.
The second blow struck this ground, housing an institute dedicated to children with developmental challenges. It occurred concurrently with international media buzz surrounding the alleged rocket strike on Ali Hospital. Astonishingly, the strike on the institute, which treats vulnerable children, received scant coverage. This discrepancy in attention incites profound frustration. It underscores the imperative for a meticulous examination of events, urging people to adopt an objective stance amidst the intricate web of conflict narratives.