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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/25/10

Gazans Denied Medical Care Under Siege

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Gazans Denied Medical Care under Siege - by Stephen Lendman


Two recent reports discuss it, a July Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (PHR-IL) one titled, "A Situation Report on Obstacles Facing Gaza Residents in Need of Medical Treatment," and a June one titled, "Who Gets to Go," jointly prepared by PHR-IL, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. All cite Israeli medical ethics and international law violations by discriminating on the basis of need, denying adequate treatment to seriously ill Gazans by:


-- preventing the restoration and development of the Strip's healthcare system; and


-- restricting travel to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Israel, or neighboring countries for treatment.


In its July report, PHR-IL said Gaza's healthcare system is getting progressively worse "due to a lack of medical expertise, medicine(s) and medical equipment," the ICRC recently saying it's "at an all time low."


In June, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Israel blocked delivery of essential equipment, including a CT scanner, defibrillators and monitors. In addition, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Israel confiscated seven oxygen machines, donated by a Norwegian development agency, and blocked x-ray machine deliveries, claiming they were dual-use, meaning possibly for military purposes.


As a result, critical shortages of most everything exist, including vital medicines, essential equipment, and other supplies expected to run out this summer, harming chronic disease sufferers the most, hampered by draconian impediments for permission to leave Gaza for treatment - what PHR-IL calls "an inexcusable breach of medical ethics" based on political, not medical considerations, most non-life threatening cases denied, including ones PHR-IL calls urgent, such as for:


"Paraplegia; retinal detachement; SLE (Lupus); foreign body in vitreous; subluxated lens; chronic severe febrile anemia; fever(s) of unknown origin (FUO); traumatic macular hole; psychomotor retardation; anemia; suspected abdominal abnormal vascular pressure; suspected chronic intestinal disease; psedoarthrosis (non-union of fractured bones) - arms, hand; infected plate - hip; deformation of cornea; recurrent dislocation of shoulder; lumbar discopathy; opacity of vitreous; (and) malformation of urinary tract."


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