Both residents and the police call us when there is a need for an ambulance. But we’re also constantly tuned in to the local media, and as soon as we learn that a particular area has been bombed, we head there. We work with the firemen, who get the injured out from under the debris.
We treat very serious injuries, such as deep head wounds, mutilations, and burns. We see injuries caused by the collapse of buildings due to bombs, as well as various types of shrapnel wounds.
We do not have enough properly-equipped ambulances. We also lack oxygen, gauze pads, syringes, and intravenous fluids.
We are also exposed to danger, due to what is known as the “second bombing.” Sometimes, when a building is targeted by an air raid, a second missile is launched soon afterwards, right around when we arrive.
Each ambulance team works a 24-hour shift, from 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. the next day, with a 24 hour break until the next shift. In theory, doctors are supposed to be on the same cycle as us, but in practice it is rare for them to rest for a full 24 hours.
It’s not the first time that I have worked in Gaza during wartime. Each and every time, the hardest part is failing to save children. And sometimes, an entire family dies beneath the rubble of a building. I witnessed this just the day before yesterday.