Months have passed and Hadassah’s Ukraine Emergency Mission continues to treat patients in the refugee centre on the Ukrainian-Polish border.
Hadassah continues to provide medication in coordination with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health; train local staff about mass-casualty and serious trauma incidents and assess trauma and emergency equipment in local hospitals.
Soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hadassah Hospital established a refugee treatment centre on the Poland-Ukraine border. “Immediately when the hostility started, we felt that we needed to be part of the response," said Prof. Yoram Weiss, MD, acting director general of Hadassah. "This is our ability to adapt and assist people all over the world... now in Poland and in Ukraine." Every day, the Hadassah team assists hundreds of Ukrainian citizens fleeing the fighting and requiring medical attention.
The first Hadassah physician to arrive in Poland, Dr. Shaul Beyth, observed, “You see the despair on the refugees’ faces, but when they hear the name Hadassah and that we have arrived to help, the people breathe easier because there is someone to rely on.”
Eleven teams of specialist doctors and nurses from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem have now travelled to the Ukrainian-Polish border town of Przemyśl to assume a leading role in caring for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the bombings in their home cities.
The Hadassah teams have treated hundreds of refugees who have walked many miles for help. Stories abound – a grandmother with a leaking stoma (an artificial opening to the stomach); a child with painful appendicitis, and a toddler who had recently undergone three abdominal surgeries because of intestinal obstructions
Hadassah has sent truckloads of medical supplies to the Ukrainian Embassy in Tel Aviv, which were then airlifted to the Ukrainian-Polish border. The shipments included:
- Sterile surgical covers and clothing
- Disposable scalpel blades
- Equipment for wound therapy
- Orthopaedic devices for external fixation
- Bag valve mask resuscitators
- Surgical thread and other wound dressing materials
Training Local Staff
Polish medical colleagues told the Hadassah delegates that there was a big gap in their ability to deal with a mass casualty event, with millions of Ukrainian refugees crossing the border into Poland.
They expressed their need for training in disaster preparedness—a need Hadassah willingly met.
The Hadassah team met with directors of the large university hospital in Lublin, Poland, and, based on their own experiences in dealing with such events in Hadassah’s trauma units, began training staff to handle mass casualty events.
Hadassah experts conducted an assessment of available Emergency and Trauma Equipment. They also recorded a training film about mass casualty handling and trauma events, made by Hadassah doctors and broadcast around Poland and to the hospitals in Ukraine.
Writing from the Ukraine-Poland border, Hadassah International Executive Director Jorge Diener noted:
From the moment the fighting started in Ukraine, we understood a humanitarian catastrophe was unfolding and only worsening with time. It’s hell for the refugees, with destroyed lives that must be built anew. Hadassah’s ethos is to bring medicine to Israel and every corner of the globe. Therefore, right now we (Hadassah) are in eastern Poland and on the Ukrainian border, and here we shall stay.
With thanks to all those in our community who generously supported the Hadassah Ukraine Emergency Mission to meet the medical emergency, help saves lives at risk and treat refugees.
Hadassah Australia President, Ron Finkel AM reflects:
We are truly proud that, once again, Hadassah Hospital has stepped up and has put itself at the forefront to help alleviate a humanitarian crisis. This is the tradition of Hadassah founder, Henrietta Szold. Over many decades Hadassah has been meeting humanitarian challenges in conflict zones and as a result of natural disasters globally. To Hadassah Hospital we say “thank you”.