Doctors Without Borders (DWB) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was sleeping in a ‘safe room’ in the Kunduz hospital when he was awoken by the deafening sound of an explosion nearby at around two in the morning. Unbeknownst to him, the facility had been struck by the first in a series of airstrikes.
“Over the past week, we’d heard bombings and explosions before, but always further away. This one was different, close and loud.” Jecs recalled in a post published on DWB’s website on Sunday.
“At first, there was confusion, and dust settling. As we were trying to work out what was happening, there was more bombing.”
Jecs said that around 30 minutes later, an emergency room nurse stumbled into their room with massive trauma to his arm. Nurses and doctors tried to stop his bleeding with the limited medical supplies they had. Half an after that the bombing seemed to have stopped and they stepped out to asses the damage.
“What we saw was the hospital destroyed, burning. I don’t know what I felt, just shock again.”
Jecs said that he, along with the project coordinator, started looking for survivors.
“We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the intensive care unit six patients were burning in their beds.”
The nurse added that they had to organise a mass casualty plan on emergency basis with the doctors who were still left alive and capable enough to help. “We did an urgent surgery for one of our doctors. Unfortunately he died there on the office table.”
“Some of my colleagues were in too much shock, crying and crying. I tried to encourage some of the staff to help, to give them something to concentrate on, to take their minds off the horror. But some were just too shocked to do anything.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2015.