We’ve heard from several members distressed and concerned about the situation that has evolved over the last week in Israel and Gaza. This includes outrage about the Hamas terrorist attacks and concern about the safety and well-being of innocent civilians in Israel and Gaza. Over 2,000 have been killed, with thousands more injured, kidnapped, and displaced. 

Doctors Manitoba is shocked by Hamas’ brutal terrorist attacks, and we are concerned about the impact of the ensuing conflict on innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians’ health and safety. The medical and humanitarian response must be protected to safely treat the injured and ease the suffering. 

The conflict is affecting the delivery of medical care. Doctors in Israel have been overwhelmed by the magnitude and brutality of injuries following the terrorist attacks. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has confirmed the death of five medical responders working with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and with Magen David Adom. The World Health Organization has reported over a dozen health facilities in Gaza have been hit in attacks and many have dwindling medical supplies. 

Here at home, we know some of our members have family, friends, or colleagues who work or live in areas in or near conflict zones. Indeed, many of your patients will also have direct connections to what is happening right now in Gaza and Israel, and could be feeling anxious or distressed. Even members or patients without a direct connection could be experiencing collective grief and trauma about the escalating conflict. 

We encourage members to be respectful and cautious in approaching this topic, as some people may be ready to engage in discussions and others may not. There is a long history of harm and trauma for Jewish people and Palestinians, and the current conflict could cause this to resurface.

We’ve also heard from members concerned about safety here in Manitoba today, because of the threats against the world’s Jewish community connected with the call for a day of rage by a former Hamas leader. Shared Health and health authorities have liaised with law enforcement and security on behalf of the health care system, and received reassurance that the police are closely monitoring the situation, including online messages and any local activity. Physicians and staff in health facilities should report any threatening or suspicious activity to your site/​program leadership and security department, and/​or to local law enforcement. 

Finally, if you, a colleague, or family member needs support or wants to talk about the current events, our Doc360 resources are available to you. This includes physicians, students and residents, as well as your family members. You can contact PARs confidential self-referral line at 2042378320 or you can contact our 24/7 Physician and Family Support Program at 1 – 844-433-DRMB (18444333762).