July 25, 2024

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How U.S. doctors, nurses lent aid to Ukrainian orphans and refugees

Janet Semenova-Hornstein remembers the moment in early March when, seeing the photographs of war in Ukraine, she realized she had to do a little something. 

“My heart was breaking, viewing all those girls and kids,” she mentioned.

A pediatric nurse practitioner in Scottsdale, Arizona, Semenova-Hornstein was born in the former Soviet Union, in Uzbekistan, and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was 7. Like her good friend, Dr. Svetlana Reznikova-Steinway, who was born and lifted in Ukraine and is now an emergency space medical professional in Mesa, she felt a connection to the region due to the fact of her family members roots. 

Pediatric nurse practitioner Janet Semenova-Hornstein is shown with her husband and two children.
Pediatric nurse practitioner Janet Semenova-Hornstein is proven with her spouse and two children.Courtesy Janet Semenova-Hornstei

“Svetlana and I looked at every single other and reported, ‘What can we do?’” she explained. “We each discuss Russian. She speaks Ukrainian. We have medical expertise. We have been two mothers dwelling in Arizona, but we understood we experienced to choose our competencies and physically do anything.”

Enlisting the enable of two much more mates with professional medical backgrounds — Dr. Cheryl Macy, an emergency place physician in Phoenix, and Carla Stark, an oncology nurse in the Scottsdale area — they began assembling donations of clinical provides. In 72 hours, they collected 800 kilos of bandages, antibiotics and urgently desired medicines, like insulin, as properly as $50,000 in monetary contributions. 

At to start with, the mates considered they’d basically send the resources to Ukraine. But Aerial Restoration Team, a reduction group they’d been in touch with, requested if they could do anything much more.

“They advised us they were nurses and medical doctors and had ties to the area,” said Jeremy Locke, main of operations for the U.S.-based catastrophe reduction organization that’s been working in Ukraine. “Because we had a require for their know-how, we requested them to occur over right here.” 

In Ukraine, Locke, a retired Inexperienced Beret, and his crew have been shuttling professional medical supplies to the front strains and escorting orphans from the hardest-strike regions to safer areas, like the western town of Lviv. Aerial Restoration Team offered to pay back for the Arizona women’s flight to Poland and offer protected properties the place they could continue to be as they provided professional medical support in the location.

And so on March 7, the 4 women of all ages, who as mothers of young children explained they had been also inspired by viewing the struggle moms in Ukraine faced as refugees, hurriedly rearranged operate schedules, set up boy or girl treatment and boarded a flight to Poland. They had been assisted in their endeavours by British Airways, which agreed to waive baggage service fees for the hundreds of lbs of health care materials they introduced with them. 

They sourced medications for the refugee center in Medyka, Poland, including anxiety aids and medicine for constipation and GI issues.
They sourced drugs for the refugee heart in Medyka, Poland, such as stress and anxiety aids and medication for constipation and GI issues. Courtesy Janet Semenova-Hornstei

“Our people were being so supportive,” explained Stark, who has two sons ages 10 and 11. “My partner was nervous, realizing his spouse was likely to a different region, around a war zone. But he and my boys understood I was heading there to enable.”

For two weeks, the 4 females place their clinical skills to operate in Lviv and throughout the Ukrainian border in Medyka, a Polish city wherever countless numbers of refugees enter every single working day.

At the refugee center clinic in Medyka, they aided relieve weary Polish doctors and nurses, delivering equally healthcare and translation support. 

“We addressed refugees’ wounds. We offered discomfort treatment,” Macy mentioned. “A large amount of people had a ton of nervousness. We supplied an ear to hear, a shoulder to cry on, as these people experienced skilled awful things.”

The women also labored with the staff members at the refugee clinic and with medical practitioners at hospitals in Lviv to establish urgently necessary drugs, then received what was wanted from local pharmacies. They also assembled hundreds of to start with help kits to deliver to Ukrainian soldiers on the entrance lines. 

In Lviv, Semenova-Hornstein’s most important undertaking was assessing and managing Ukrainian orphans Aerial Restoration experienced transported from really hard-hit places of Ukraine, around the entrance traces.

“Many of the little ones experienced been living in chilly bomb shelters for up to two months,” she said. “A good deal of them experienced developed pneumonia, upper respiratory bacterial infections. Some had stress and anxiety and PTSD from all of the shelling,” she said, referring to put up-traumatic strain dysfunction. 

Pediatric nurse practitioner Janet Semenova-Hornstein is shown here with Ukrainian orphans in Lviv. Semenova-Hornstein assessed and treated the orphans for conditions including pneumonia and upper respiratory infections, after the children spent up to two weeks in bomb shelters.
Pediatric nurse practitioner Janet Semenova-Hornstein is revealed right here with Ukrainian orphans in Lviv. Semenova-Hornstein assessed and dealt with the orphans for disorders including pneumonia and higher respiratory infections, after the small children put in up to two weeks in bomb shelters.Courtesy Janet Semenova-Hornstei

Semenova-Hornstein claimed her time with the orphans was impressive, punctuated by repeated air raid sirens. 

Just after two a long time of managing critically ill Covid individuals in Arizona hospitals, Macy and Reznikova-Steinway contact their journey to the location “strangely healing.”

“With Covid, most of us felt helpless,” Reznikova-Steinway explained. “It was so challenging to see men and women die in our arms, and with the health issues being politicized, it bought to be too significantly.”

Macy mentioned she’d witnessed a whole lot of Covid-linked burnout among doctors and “a absence of hope for humanity in a whole lot of techniques, because of how men and women were dealing with every other.”

“Going to the Polish-Ukrainian border was rejuvenating. People have been working collectively,” she stated. “It restored my capabilities to observe medication in a good deal of strategies.”

Now again in the U.S., all four gals are tough at function accumulating a lot more healthcare supply donations for a second Ukrainian mission. 

“We’re now in immediate get in touch with with Ukrainian hospitals and are doing the job to get them precisely what they need,” Reznikova-Steinway said, noting that between the most urgently essential objects for Ukraine’s entrance traces are IV antibiotics for wide spectrum coverage, tranexamic acid to cease bleeding, and EZ-IO drills and needles.

Almost a month immediately after their mission started, Stark nevertheless marvels at what she and her Arizona good friends, hectic juggling careers and little ones, were being in a position to do.

“Unofficially, we’re calling ourselves ‘Team Do Very good,’” she explained. “We’re four moms with health care backgrounds who claimed, ‘Let’s go do this.’ And this is what happened.”