Paper| Volume 23, ISSUE 6, P405-409, 1992

Surgery in a Palestinian refugee camp

  • P.A. Cutting
    Requests for reprints should be addressed to: Pauline A. Cutting, Keizergracht 200, 1016 DX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
    Haifa Hospital, Palestine Red Crescent Society, Bourj al-Barajneh Refugee Camp, Beirut, Lebanon
    Search for articles by this author
  • R. Agha
    Haifa Hospital, Palestine Red Crescent Society, Bourj al-Barajneh Refugee Camp, Beirut, Lebanon
    Search for articles by this author
      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.


      From 1985 to 1987, three Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon were attacked several times by a Lebanese militia. We present a review of 1276 casualties who were wounded in the refugee camp of Bourj al-Barajneh during two such attacks between December 1985 and April 1987. All were treated in Haifa Hospital (30–40 beds), which had limited equipment, was situated inside the refugee camp and was badly damaged by war. During both attacks, the refugee camp was surrounded and put under siege such that patients could not be evacuated and supplies were not allowed in. The second period lasted almost 6 months resulting in severe shortages of medicines, equipment and food, leading to a rationing of resources and modification of treatment. More than 300 operations were carried out under general anaesthesia, the remainder under local or without anaesthesia. The overall operative mortality was 3.2 per cent. Despite the deprivation, many patients survived severe and complicated wounds because they were quickly brought to the hospital, provided with adequate quantities of fresh blood for transfusion, and sound surgical principles were followed.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Injury
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Baskett P.
        • Weller R.
        Medicine for Disasters. Wright, London1980: 404
        • DeWind C.M.
        War injuries treated under primitive circumstances: Experiences in an Ugandan mission hospital.
        Am. R. Coll. Surg. Engl. 1987; 69: 193
        • Dufour D.
        • Kroman Jewson S.
        • Owen-Smith M.
        Surgery for Victims of War. ICRC, Geneva1988
        • Gordon D.S.
        Surgery of violence, 5. Missile wounds of the head and spine.
        Br. Med. J. 1975; 1: 614
        • Irving M.
        • Baskett P.
        • Cummins B.
        • et al.
        The management of patients with major injuries: Report of the Working Party of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 1988;
        • Jackson D.S.
        • Batty C.G.
        • Ryan J.M.
        • et al.
        The Falklands War: Army field surgical experience.
        Ann. R. Coll. Surg. Engl. 1983; 65: 281
      1. Ministry of Defence: Field Surgery Pocket Book. HMSO, London1981
        • London P.S.
        Medical lessons from the Falklands Islands' campaign.
        J. Bone Joint Surg. 1983; 65B: 507
        • Trouwborst A.
        • Weber B.K.
        • Dufour D.
        Medical statistics of battlefield casualties.
        Injury. 1987; 18: 96
        • Whelan T.J.
        • Burkalter W.E.
        • Gomez A.
        Management of war wounds.
        in: Advances in Surgery. Vol. 3. Yearbook Medical, Chicago1968: 227