Performing Reconstructive Surgery in the Gaza Strip
My name is Mateja Stare. I’m 38 and I am from Slovenia. In Ljubljana, the capital, I work in the country’s largest hospital. I am an operating room nurse. I’ve just come back from the Gaza Strip, where I spent a month on mission with MSF.
To say that you want “to help people in need” can sound a little superficial, and even frivolous, but it’s also true. I really believe that after you’ve organized your life and everything is going well, the time comes when you need to share your expertise and your experience with other people—with people who haven’t had the same luck. So why not join up with a humanitarian organization?
I worked as the operating room supervising nurse in Gaza. I managed, directed, trained, evaluated, coordinated, organized, and planned everything in coordination with the surgical activities. We worked in an MSF field hospital, in tents set up in front of Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, a city 20 kilometers south of Gaza City, where MSF has its office and house.
Because of the events, we were only able to operate during for four days of that month-long mission, but we decided to do the maximum number of operations per day. There are posters hanging all across the Gaza Strip with information about this program inviting potential patients to consult our teams. The day before the surgeries began, the surgeons—both Palestinian and expatriate—carefully examined 200 patients. In the end, we operated on 25 people and dressed the wounds of two additional sedated patients.
Read the rest of Mateja Stare’s account from the his time in the Gaza Strip.
Photo: Palestinian Territories 2012 © Mateja Stare/MSF
An MSF staff member tends to a young burn victim.