Occupied Palestinian territory | News | In focus | First aid worker severely injured in both legs while providing care, May 2018

First aid worker severely injured in both legs while providing care, May 2018

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Ahmed_PMRS6 May 2018 – Ahmed is 25 years old and a volunteer first aid worker with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) in Gaza.

On 6 April 2018, Ahmed attended with PMRS first aid workers east of Khan Younis to assist those injured during demonstrations as part of the Great March of Return.  At approximately 3pm, Ahmed was shot by a bullet that went through both his legs as he was in the field assisting a victim of teargas inhalation.  The bullet broke a bone and ruptured blood vessels in his right leg, as well as injuring his left leg. He describes the incident:

“Another volunteer and I saw a few people injured about 50 meters from the fence. We rushed forward to help them and to get them to somewhere safe. Suddenly I felt something hit my legs and I fell down. I saw blood gushing out of both my legs, so I immediately took off my t-shirt to tie it around and called out for help. Instead of rescuing people I found myself being rescued! I was carried out on the same stretcher we’d brought with us to evacuate the injured.”

Ahmed has been volunteering with PMRS for the last year and a half:

“I’m passionate about helping others and I recently found out about the shortage of health workers and volunteers. So I signed up to volunteer with the PMRS. Before I was shot, we managed to evacuate about ten injured people that Friday. Some have been exposed to teargas and others injured with live ammunition.”

After Ahmed was evacuated, he was treated at the closest Trauma Stabilizing Point (TSP), receiving first aid to control the bleeding and a splint for his legs.  He was then taken by ambulance to the European Gaza Hospital (EGH) in Khan Younis. “When I arrived to the EGH my leg was blue and I was in a lot of pain. I was quickly rushed to the operating room to fix the ruptured blood vessels and the fractured bone.” Ahmed stayed in hospital for 10 days. He had an external fixator for his bone fracture and required a skin graft. After he was discharged, PMRS provided home care with regular dressings, but he was re-admitted to hospital after he developed a wound infection and became feverish. “Today is my seventh day in hospital after I had to come back. Physically I’m feeling better, but mentally I feel destroyed. It’s hard to believe that I was shot. As paramedics and volunteers helping the injured we should be protected. I was wearing a vest that clearly showed I am a health worker. I was shot providing care to a guy who was suffering with teargas inhalation. Imagine.”

Ahmed graduated in Business Administration from Al-Aqsa University in 2016. He works intermittently because of the lack of work opportunities in Gaza. He is married and lives with his extended family in the village of Bani-Suhaila, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. He and his wife are expecting a child in a few months.

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