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Doctors at war

Illustration: #OksanaDrachkovska


Danylo has worked as a doctor at the Irpin Central City Hospital (located in the city of Bucha) all his life. In the first days of the full-scale invasion, Ukrainian military and territorial defense soldiers with gunshot wounds were brought to the hospital. On February 27, the Russians occupied Bucha, so an influx of wounded civilians began: some were shot when they just went out into the street, some stepped on a landmine. People often got to the hospital too late, because the occupiers didn’t let them out of the basements. So a nine-year-old girl was left without an arm, another boy spent three days with a tourniquet on his leg and got gangrene. Dead patients were buried near a church nearby. The doctors in Bucha also had to treat the occupiers—the staff had no choice.

As Danylo recalls, the hospital was fortunate that many doctors from Kyiv hospitals lived in Bucha or Irpin, so they joined the team during the occupation. In March, the Irpin hospital was able to evacuate patients and medical staff from Bucha. All children who were operated on there, survived and continued their treatment abroad.

At the same time, at the National Specialized Children's Hospital Ohmatdyt (Kyiv), it was felt that part of the staff would remain under occupation in Kyiv Oblast. According to the memories of Valeriy, a children's orthopedic and trauma doctor, the month since the beginning of the invasion turned into one endless day: doctors spent the night at Ohmatdyt, slept in the corridors of the hospital with patients, and worked despite the air raid alerts and explosions all around the hospital. Children came in with hemorrhages and lacerations, deformed faces, and burns. Some had their parents die in front of their eyes. Because of this, many doctors usually work with one child: surgeons, trauma doctors, neurologists, and psychologists. Valeriy was impressed by the unity doctors showed: no "someone else's" work. Everyone helped everyone.

During the first months, the doctors of Ohmatdyt gained important experience in working with war injuries, since they differ in many ways from peace-time injuries. Now, according to Valeriy, doctors are able to treat patients faster and more efficiently.


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