By Noora Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 26 February 2014:
Protesters gathered yesterday outside Benghazi’s Al-Jalaa Hospital to demonstrate against a series of critical security breaches where . . .[restrict]groups, often armed, have threatened and intimidated patients and medical staff.
Patients, their families and medical staff held banners reading: “Enough destruction, it is time to start rebuilding,” and “Protection of hospitals is a national duty”. Anger and frustration defined the protest with much of this directed at Benghazi Local Council which, protestors said, had not done enough to address the situation.
A medical student, who asked not to be named, told the Libya Herald that while she had been training in Jalaa’s accident and emergency department armed groups had, on several occasions, entered the hospital in a state of intoxication, threatening doctors and support staff. She added that at times this led to physical abuse.
Most problems at the hospital arose when casualties were brought in following gunfights or disputes, she said. Fights would often break out between families and medical staff following a death because it was felt more should have been done to save the patient, she added.
Earlier this month Jalaa Hospital closed temporarily after a number of patients were injured when gunmen opened fire on hospital security guards.
Strikes started four days ago at Benghazi Medical Centre, the city’s largest hospital, following an armed robbery at its accident and emergency department.
The latest problems came in spite of a meeting two weeks ago between Benghazi Joint Security Room members and hospital staff to try to find a solution to increasingly frequent security problems after another armed and violent incident. [/restrict]