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Gunshot injury: a traumatising experience

Emergency Rehabilitation
Occupied Palestinian Territories

Ahmed is 15. Injured in his right thigh just above the knee during a demonstration on the border between Gaza and Israel, he is currently care managed by an HI team. He will begin rehabilitation sessions once his wound has healed. He also needs psychological support.

Ahmed on his bed at home with a member of the HI team.

Ahmed on his bed at home with a member of the HI team. | © Hardy Skills/HI

One of four children, Ahmed lives in Khan Younis district. His father does odd jobs and his mother cleans for a living. Since they live in a disadvantaged neighbourhood, they don’t have access to public transport. They have to pay for a taxi to take Ahmed to hospital – a considerable expense for this family on a low income.

Many of Ahmed’s cousins live with him in the apartment, so he has very little privacy. Since he was injured, Ahmed spends his time on an old settee in the living room.

Gunshot wound

Ahmed was injured in his right thigh just above the knee during a demonstration. He can remember the incident and the pain very clearly, and he is obviously still in a state of shock: “I felt something hit my leg really hard and then I saw the blood. I screamed and collapsed. I lost all feeling in my body for a few seconds.”

HI’s team is waiting for the doctor’s go-ahead before starting his rehabilitation sessions, but have already begun to provide him with psychological support. These sessions are important because people like Ahmed, who are disabled as a result of an injury, sometimes go through a period of depression, made worse by the fear that they may never fully recover. This psychological support is also essential when it comes to motivating patients to do their rehabilitation exercises.

"I can’t move around by myself at the moment,” explains a slightly worried Ahmed. “I can’t go to the toilet like I used to. I need to ask my brother to come with me. It’s embarrassing. I want to get rid of the external fixture on my leg.”

Assisted by HI’s mobile team for the last two weeks, Ahmed is feeling less depressed. He will require even more support during his convalescence, to provide him with the rehabilitation care he needs to fully restore his mobility.

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