Al Jazeera Close Up

My day as a doctor at Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital | Close Up

“Every day we say today was the worst ever, then the next day turns out even worse,” says Sara Al Saqqa, a young surgeon at al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility. Al-Shifa Hospital is overflowing with both the living and the dead so Sara rushes from one patient to the next, offering just a few minutes per person. “We treat patients on the floor, on stretches or in hallways. There aren’t enough operating or recovery rooms and people have died because we have no place to put them up for treatment,” she adds.

Men, women and children are amongst the wounded- some cry, others tremble or sleep on makeshift beds on the floor. When asked what the hardest part of her job is, Al Saqqa says it’s the children.

“I can’t tolerate children suffering. I can’t even tolerate them crying. I didn’t go into paediatrics because I didn’t want to feel so helpless in front of crying children,” she adds.

In one month of Israel’s assault on Gaza, at least 10,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 4880 children, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The morgue at al-Shifa Hospital has reached maximum capacity and outside the main building, a tent has been set up to store the bodies. “Yesterday, they were placed in refrigerators used to store frozen chicken,” says Ahmed Hijazi, a Palestinian content creator. “Can you imagine How tragic this is?” he adds.

Before Israel’s assault on Gaza, Hijazi used his social media presence to show Gaza’s beauty to the world in spite of the blockade- but now his focus has shifted to recording history. He documents the aftermath of Israel’s bombardment: mothers in pain, children trembling in agony, exhausted doctors operating by flashlights. Ahmed also witnessed the air strike on an ambulance just outside the gates of al-Shifa Hospital: “I’m filming from the ambulance so Israel can’t claim they’re not bombing civilians…I want the world to see the extent of massacres being committed against humanity.”


A film by: Tierney Bonini and Real Gaza Productions

Cinematographer: Real Gaza Productions

Editors: Antonia Perello & Catherine Hallinan

Assistant Editor: Ahmad Samara

Sound Editor & Mixer: Linus Bergman

Executive Producer: Tierney Bonini

Senior Editor: Donald Cameron