Baraa is a 23-year-old nurse in Eastern Aleppo. She writes to you about what life is like in a city where hospital workers and staff are targeted and medical supplies are running out.
“I did not study nursing. I was a student of Biomedical engineering but I had to cut my studies short because of the war. It was my dream to study medicine, and ironically that dream came true while my other dreams vanished because of the war.
It’s really hard to be a nurse in Eastern Aleppo. It just got much harder because all of the hospitals and medical points have been bombed out of service.
We’ve had to move our operations and patients to homes. We prepare the homes the best way we can so that we can receive as many patients as possible. But there are never enough medical supplies, especially sterilization tools and painkillers. We can’t offer our patients the most basic medical care.
We can't even give our patients clean blankets. They are forced to use blankets filled with the blood of other patients. They don’t have a choice. The cleaning lady can’t find the time to wash or dry the blood-stained blankets. Patients die smelling their own blood. They die because of the lack of sterilisation and cold. We are constantly receiving huge influxes of civilians injured due to the shelling and bombing, which puts us under extreme and constant pressure to address all of their needs at once.
Many errors have been made because we are overloaded with patients and have a shortage of medical staff.There are situations where we have patients die while waiting on a major surgery because our doctors are so busy attending to dozens of other patients who are also in desperate need of medical care. We lose patients that could’ve been saved if we had seconds to spare.
One of the critical care nurses named Keffah was killed the day before yesterday. With the death of every doctor or nurse we die more and more.
And there is no time to rest or eat. Not even for a minute. Doctors and nurses eat while working. Even if we did find the time to sleep, we can’t stop thinking of the people that are dying while we are resting.
The pictures or quotes that you see in the media can’t even begin to convey the intense fatigue and feeling of helplessness we are facing in this city. This tragic situation has stopped me from having a life. I'm not married. I have no time to study or for personal activities. I no longer have the time to even check on my mother. The only time that I can see her is when I’m supposed to be sleeping.
I haven’t sat down once since yesterday at 6am till 6pm this evening. But I will continue my work so that everyone knows we did our best to save people from this tragic situation we are in. Even if they destroyed every single hospital in Eastern Aleppo, we will never give up. We will continue working to help the injured and sick. If our hospital gets bombed, we will move to the next hospital and continue our work.
Even if it ultimately costs me my life, I have nothing left to lose."