Earthquake victims, writhing in pain and grasping at life, watched doctors and nurses walk away from a field hospital Friday night after a Belgian medical team evacuated the area, saying it was concerned about security.
The decision left CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta as the only doctor at the hospital to get the patients through the night.
CNN initially reported, based on conversations with some of the doctors, that the United Nations ordered the Belgian First Aid and Support Team to evacuate. However, Belgian Chief Coordinator Geert Gijs, a doctor who was at the hospital with 60 Belgian medical personnel, said it was his decision to pull the team out for the night. Gijs said he requested U.N. security personnel to staff the hospital overnight, but was told that peacekeepers would only be able to evacuate the team.
The sad thing here is that the UN has the resources to play a PR campaign to cover their asses over this mess, and try to pin the blame on whoever was in charge of the medical team, but they don’t have the resources to protect a small hospital overnight.
This is immoral.
What I don’t understand is this: are medical teams run by the UN, a military police body, so pathetic that their doctors aren’t armed? Hippocratic oath and rules of warfare aside, medical personnel are allowed to protect themselves. OUR medical teams in the military carry sidearms, but the UN team is scared of some stragglers wielding machetes?