Fallujah General Hospital has warned of an impending crisis, with severe shortages not only of medicines but also of qualified medical staff, amid ongoing clashes between Islamic State (IS) militants and Iraqi security forces.
An RFE/RL correspondent reported that Fallujah General Hospital had announced severe medical shortages, while other besieged townships in Anbar Province were also being deprived by Islamic State militants of food and fuel supplies.
The hospital blamed Iraqi security forces for the shortage in physicians, saying that road closures around the hospital had meant that doctors were unable to reach it.
Hospital spokesman and chief resident Dr. Ahmed al-Shami told Iraq’s al-Sumaria News on November 12 that the hospital had a shortage of medical staff for about a week. Shami said that the Iraqi military had closed off all the roads leading to the city and had subjected doctors to harassment, with military forces arresting two of them.
Referring to the hospital’s practice of announcing daily casualty figures, Shami warned that Fallujah General Hospital would soon be announcing not just the numbers of those dead and wounded in the fighting but also those who had died because they had not received adequate medical treatment or care.
This is not the first time that Fallujah General Hospital has criticized Iraqi security forces. In the past, it has accused Iraqi security forces of using excessive force against it as part of its fight against Islamic State militants. In July, Shami told Al-Monitor that dozens of calls by the hospital to government and security forces to “exclude the hospital from military operations in the province” had been ignored. In that same interview, Shami denied a May report by Human Rights Watch that quoted Iraqi security forces as saying the hospital was treating IS gunmen and that armed groups were detaining local officials in the hospital.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk