Introduction:

This report addresses the Israeli policy to deprive the Gaza Strip’s patients of traveling for treatment in hospitals in Israel and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and neighboring countries under the pretext that their treatment is available in the Gaza Strip’s hospitals or just for improving “quality of life” and not posing danger to their lives.

The report emphasizes that this policy has affected patients suffering from serious diseases such as cancer and cardiac patients, and those who need urgent and complicated surgeries in advanced health centers in addition to affecting the eye and osteopathic patients, claiming according to the Israeli criteria that their treatment is for improving “quality of life” and not “lifesaving.”  Due to this policy, patients’ health conditions have seriously deteriorated.

The report also reviews the Israeli practices against the patients, whose diseases are classified as “not lifesaving” cases or their treatment is available in the Gaza Strip hospitals, by mainly delaying replies to their permit applications for months; replying after longtime that the application is still under security check; banning patients from traveling without explaining the reasons, and neglecting and disregarding patients’ treatment appointments.

Based on testimonies given by Consultant Doctors, specialists, and administrators working in the Gaza Strip hospitals, the report also refutes the Israeli authorities’ claims that the treatment for these patients referred abroad is available in the Gaza Strip hospitals or that the diseases of these patients do not pose danger to their life “quality of life”.

The medical specialists emphasize that patients are referred for treatment abroad after exhausting all therapies in the Gaza hospitals.  This happens when there is serious threat to patient’s health if he does not resume his treatment abroad.  The specialists also emphasize that running out of certain types of medical supplies and medicines and breakdown of many medical devices made the Gaza Strip’s hospitals incapable of treating some diseases or conducting certain surgeries. Therefore, many patients whose cases are relatively less serious were referred abroad for treatment after they could have been treated in the Gaza Strip hospitals. Moreover, the constantly busy operating rooms that may be reserved for long periods reaching to 6 months in advance would lead to referring patients who are in need for urgent and complicated surgeries to be treated abroad.

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