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Eyewitness: a long road to recovery

25 November 2014

During the recent conflict in Gaza, 16-year-old Baha’’s neighbourhood came under intense Israeli shelling. He and his older brother, Ala’a, went to try to help the injured. Their bravery came at a terrible cost.

Baha’ was struck with shrapnel in both legs. Ala’a, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday that day, was killed.

Baha' recovering at home

Though Baha’’s injuries were severe, he was discharged from hospital early because of the overwhelming number of casualties.

His family were unable to afford, or safely reach, other healthcare facilities to get him the medical care he desperately needed.

Home-based care

So staff from our partner organisation, the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), risked their own lives during the conflict to provide him with critical home-based medical assistance.

Baha’’s mother, Mariam, recalls: ‘PMRS were the only people who were reaching us and helping. They exposed themselves to the risks – to the missiles – to save my child’s life.’

In the weeks and months following the ceasefire, PMRS staff have continued to provide home-based care to Baha’, and others like him.

As well as receiving regular sessions of physiotherapy, he has been given an assistive device to help him learn to walk again.

Mariam explains: ‘In the beginning, after the surgery, Baha’ could not move his leg.

'Thank God, after the physiotherapist came and helped him during the sessions he could move and sit in a chair.

‘I was surprised that, rather than expecting us to take Baha' to them, instead they were coming to us, taking him to the clinic in an ambulance.

'This is the difference with PMRS. I hope that these services can continue until my son recovers and can walk again.’

Life-saving treatment

During the conflict, PMRS coordinated and delivered life-saving services to injured people like Baha’. They managed to provide services and treatment to more than 30,000 people in total.

In addition, through their mobile clinics they provided desperately needed essential healthcare and treatment to approximately 8,000 people every day who had taken refuge in UN schools.

The devastation and destruction caused during 50 days of relentless violence is unprecedented.

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