Sveta, 46-years-old, did not hesitate when she had the opportunity to escape from Chernihiv, a beautiful historic Ukrainian town northeast of Kyiv. She was very ill, and together with her 6-year-old daughter Nastia, they had been living in a nightmare.
Besides underlying health problems (diabetes and a heart condition), a bad case of COVID-19 two months earlier had left Sveta with a collapsed lung. She knew she had to get to a safe haven away from the fighting where Nastia would be safe and she could receive proper treatment.
After days on the road, Sveta and Nastia crossed the border into Poland and found themselves in the Przemyśl Refugee Centre where for the past two months Hadassah’s Humanitarian Mission has been providing medical help to Ukrainian refugees.
Sveta was experiencing severe shortness of breath, her legs were very swollen, and she was wheelchair-bound. She explained to Dr. Wassim Majahed, an emergency medicine specialist from Hadassah, that she could not take her medications (particularly her diuretic) on the road as she could not go to the bathroom alone, and there was no one to help her.
When the Hadassah team measured Sveta’s oxygen level, it was dangerously low at about 70%. Through a complex operation involving special transport, in collaboration with the social workers of Hadassah’s partner organization Natan Worldwide Disaster Relief, the Hadassah team was able to find and borrow oxygen generators to treat Sveta, and give her the medication she needed to stabilise her.
However the challenge remained as to what would happen next for Sveta and Nastia.
Sveta really needed to be hospitalised as soon as possible, but her daughter could not go to a hospital with her, and they did not have any relatives, friends, or acquaintances Sveta could call on to take care of little Nastia while she was in the hospital.
As Sveta could not leave Nastia alone, exposed to unimaginable dangers, she would have to remain in the refugee centre until such time as a better solution could be found. She would be unable to start the urgent serious treatment she could receive at a fully functioning hospital.
Hadassah International reached out to the Polish contacts who have been helping the Hadassah mission. Together they were able to find a shelter near Warsaw for mothers and children run by a very generous Polish Foundation. The shelter, with thirty beds, houses survivors from Bucha, the city near Kyiv where Russian troops massacred a large proportion of the city’s residents. Although the shelter was full; they secured a place for Sveta and her daughter.
Hadassah’s Polish friends made sure that Sveta could receive the essential medical care she needed at a hospital near the shelter. While Sveta is in the hospital, Nastia would be safe, surrounded by people who are able to take care of her while her mother recovers.
When Sveta was finally admitted into the hospital, her condition was life-threatening. In-depth testing showed that she had fluid in her lungs, and needed emergency surgery.
Thankfully Sveta is now doing well and will stay in the hospital until she is fully recovered.
”Hadassah is doing much more than simply treating the medical needs of the refugees entrusted to their care. Hadassah is saving lives at risk, one at a time.”
Hadassah UK is raising funds to support Hadassah Hospital’s Humanitarian Medical Mission in Poland to aid Ukrainian Refugees.
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