Second patient dies of renal failure in Douma as supplies blocked

On Sunday, a patient in the East Ghouta city of Douma died of renal failure, the second since the Unified Medical Office for Douma announced the suspension of the only dialysis department in the east Damascus suburbs due to a lack of supplies needed for hemodialysis.

The World Health Organization and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent delivered the necessary supplies for dialysis in May and July of last year as part of a UN resolution with the Syrian regime.

The regime reached an agreement with the WHO and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to allow for the delivery of 2,000 rounds of dialysis treatment to Douma.

However, fewer than half of the 2,000 packages have been delivered because the regime hasn't let them through the blockade, according to a Douma doctor in a video published on YouTube by the Unified Medical Office for Douma last week. The medical team has since used the 850 packages that went through.

Now, more than just the 17 people with renal failure in the besieged rebel city of Douma are at risk, Hassan Mohammadspokesman for the medical office in Douma, tells Syria Direct’s Noura Hourani.

“Urgent and critical” cases can no longer be treated, Mohammad says. “There are patients who need one or two emergency dialysis sessions as a result of injuries from bombardment.”

Q: How many patients does the center treat? Now that the necessary supplies have run out, what services can the center provide?

There are 17 cases of people with renal failure who need regular dialysis, but there are many other people who suffer from kidney diseases who do not currently require dialysis. The major problem is not only the 17 patients who are undergoing dialysis, but also the patients who need one or two emergency dialysis sessions as a result of injuries from bombardment. Those cases are urgent and critical. We have just appealed to humanitarian organizations. Now we can only wait and hope for the delivery of the necessary supplies.

Q: Are there ongoing negotiations with the regime to bring in medical supplies or transport patients outside for treatment?

We do not communicate directly with the regime, but the Syrian Red Crescent brokers the negotiations and they are trying to gain permission for the passage of the necessary supplies. The transport of patients is not possible for two reasons. Firstly, the patient cannot be moved due to their critical health condition. Secondly, many residents do not want to leave their families and their homes and would rather die than leave.

Noura Hourani

Noura Hourani studied English Literature at Tishreen University and previously worked as a private English tutor. She left Syria at the beginning of the conflict.

Samuel Kieke

Samuel Kieke was a 2014-2015 CASA I fellow in Amman, Jordan. He received his BA from the University of Texas at Austin in Arabic Language and Literature, Middle Eastern Studies, and International Relations and Global Studies.