They should do away with the signs and the departments at Nasser Hospital in Gaza. Every square inch of it is now a trauma unit.
When I arrived there this morning an administrator took my name and gave me a visitor’s badge, just like any other hospital. It was a touch of order and routine, in a place where everything is hideously upset.
To stop and talk to people along its wards and corridors is to get a series of glimpses into demolished lives. I started in the burns unit, where most of the patients were children. I sat next to a bed on which a three-year-old girl called Randa who was whimpering with pain.
- Warning: This video contains distressing images
I was told that her burning body had been thrown clear of the explosion which killed her mother, brother and sister, and left her father critically injured. I find the extent of her tragedy very difficult to think about.
In between the bandages, I could see the soreness of Randa’s skin, and where the fire took her hair away. Her eyes stare out at a world which has been brutal to her.
Her aunt Amani has worked out that if she sits Randa up, it gives her a few moments of respite from the pain. In between tending to her niece, she weeps.
“She will have to be my daughter now,” she says.
There were other things I saw at the hospital which feel like they should be stronger memories.
The airstrikes which came in a few hundred yards away. The small groups of people whose homes were blown up last night, and now wander the hallways in the hope they might find their missing relatives.
The young brothers who were wheeled past me on a trolley, injured and orphaned the night before.
But I’m afraid they have become sketchy details in my perception of a place I went to just this morning.
A place where I watched a little girl reach out for comfort with tiny, bandaged arms.
A place where there was too much suffering for me properly to comprehend.