In Bihac, a Hospital Under Siege : War: Medicine and food are almost gone for 900 patients trapped in a Serb chokehold.

Dr. Bekir Tatlic is director of the Regional Bihac Hospital.

The Regional Bihac Hospital, which cares for an area with a population of more than 350,000 that has been surrounded by Serbian rebels for three years, has managed through the sacrificial dedication of its staff to continue its work. Yet even when aid convoys were able to pass through to this region, and along with the help of humanitarian organizations, the hospital was unable to do all that was expected of it under its mandate.

Since April, not one sizable shipment has reached the hospital from the world humanitarian organizations; we have received only several small consignments of medicines via the World Health Organization, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

The hospital has exhausted the last of its food and medical reserves, so that the feeding of the sick and wounded, more than 900 patients, is now limited to one meal per day.

Treatment can be given only to the most desperate cases, so we can no longer even consider treatment of any kind that would lead to our patients' recovery. Operations are being performed under local anesthesia, since we lack the basic instruments and medicines needed to carry out normal operations.

The hospital is full of premature and stillborn babies; babies that are born full-term are well under the desired weight. For a long time now, we have been lacking any kind of baby food and are not able to feed these underweight infants.

In this desperate situation, without the necessary food and medicines, infectious diseases are spreading--tuberculosis, intestinal diseases, hepatitis, vitamin A deficiency. This hospital is no longer in a position to help the inhabitants of this area.

All the employees of the hospital appeal to the whole world and especially to the world health organizations, humanitarian organizations, doctors and all medical workers to raise their voices for help for the Bihac Regional Hospital. If help does not come immediately, help will no longer be necessary, as there will not be a single patient left; such a fate may also be in store for the rest of the inhabitants of this region.

We believe that the world has a moral responsibility to help us; we ask that every last possibility be taken to do so.

Please help us. Alone we can no longer do anything.

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