I have often wondered why we tend to simply lump people affected by an attack into three categories: unharmed, injured, and dead. After all, a scrape on the forehead is hardly the same as the loss of a limn or paralysis, yet both count as injuries. And even when we use the distinction of “minor” versus “serious” injuries, we don’t often hear about the nature of those serious injuries or about their long-term inpact on the person’s life.
But the WND article Survivors face agony in suicide attacks details the damage. Here’s the worst of it:
Reports of people being injured in suicide bombings are not rare. Since September 2000, 498 Israelis have been killed and 4,021 injured in acts of Palestinian violence. In suicide bombings alone, 208 Israelis have died. On Monday, there were several reports on the suicide bomber who killed an 18-month-old baby girl and her grandmother and left 27 people injured. The reports, however, rarely go into the medical details to explain just what is meant by “injured.”
At a Tel Aviv nightclub June 1, a suicide bomber left 15-year-old Alona Shportova with serious brain damage and paralysis. She also had some of her limbs lacerated. In the suicide bombing of Dec. 1, Eran Mizrahi suffered a nail through his skull. He was celebrating his 16th birthday at a restaurant in Jerusalem. His injury left him paralyzed and in a catatonic state.
Messing said one of the victims he saw while in Jerusalem had around 300 individual metallic fragments within his body. The metal fragments, measuring from millimeters to centimeters, were imbedded in the young man literally from head to toe, he said.
“Several of the fragments penetrated into his vital organs. He sustained a punctured colon, a collapsed lung, and a lacerated liver and kidney. I could actually feel the nails under his skin where they had burrowed and lodged,” Messing recalls.
The victim underwent painstaking hours of exploration to try to remove the metal fragments that were accessible.
“He suffered multiple organ injuries, but was saved with successful emergency room care and surgery,” he said. “Other victims suffered amputated limbs, severe burns, fractures, lacerations, paralysis, deafness and blindness.”
Sometimes the fragments will cause more damage if they are taken out, Messing said, so some of the victims live the rest of their agonizing lives with shrapnel still inside of them.
“It is common knowledge here that light injury can be losing a limb; medium is nearly dead or doubtful if he will live or radically altered functionality,” Legomsky says. “Serious almost always means most of these victims wish they were dead physically.”
I am reminded of the title of one of Ayn Rand’s essays from VOR: “Of Living Death.”