Skip to content

1st Day at Gaza’s Morgue

September 25, 2011

Today I was the first to arrive at the Department of Forensic Medicine of the famous Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City for the first day of my forensic medicine rotation. Names and titles can be deceiving indeed. I asked one of the ER nurses to show me the way to the place and he kindly did. The Department is a single floor of four offices and the morgue. In Gaza, we are not Hindu and we do not burn the bodies of the dead; we bury them. Nevertheless, for some reason the morgue is located adjacent to the incinerator used by the hospital for the disposal of medical waste! Wild guess: the architect was Hindu!

Two 15-year-old autopsy tables, refrigerators with a maximum capacity of 17 bodies and two cupboards; one for the jars of tissue samples taken from dead people with unidentified cause of death and the other for autopsy instruments. That is it. I do not want to cause you a headache by mentioning the lacking, necessary tools. However, you should know that Gaza does not have any forensics laboratory, never mention any of the technologies you see Abby of NCIS using in her lab!

We had some time to explore the place and I was checking the jars of tissue samples when I came across a jar that shocked me! It was labelled (Vittorio Arrigoni / Italian)! I got overwhelmed by the idea that the tissue samples I was carrying belonged to Vik! The nurse explained that they keep the samples just in case further investigation in the death of Vittorio required a report from the pathologist.

Minutes later, two bodies were brought in for autopsy and examination. Two men in their thirties got killed as a result of a gas leak in a Rafah tunnel raising the total number of victims killed in Rafah tunnels since 2011 to 17 dead and to 197 since 2006.  For the first two minutes, I did not move my sight away from the face of the first victim. He rushed to the rescue of a colleague who lost consciousness after inhaling the leaked gas in the tunnel but then the gas exploded and he died of extensive burns that affected 90% of his body surface area. These men risk their lives working in the tunnels to provide for their families.. As my father commented on this 2 hours ago: Life is hard and people do what they gotta do!

The theme of the day was death. I spent the day studying signs of death, examining bodies, and practicing the writing of death reports. I can not help but thinking about life and death, friends and strangers, hardships and sacrifices.. We live in a world that is doing great injustice to the weak and poor. Let’s work together on changing that..



Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: