(KRON) – A local doctor flew overseas to help Ukrainian refugees who fled the war-torn country. He says many of them were treated for health problems linked to anxiety, while others had physical injuries, like one elderly woman who had a broken shoulder that was hit by shrapnel.
The doctor is back home in the East Bay. In the video above, you can see him examining one of about 200 patients he saw in the span of one week.
Dr. Larry Burchett flew to Poland and first stopped at a convention center in Warsaw, where about 1,00 Ukrainian refugees are being housed. He said many of them had infectious problems related to being grouped in that space.
They also suffered from medical issues that stem from anxiety caused by the war. Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the attacks on civilians “Russian state sponsored terrorism.”
The elderly woman whose shoulder has been broken for months needed surgery, but Burchett couldn’t provide that. He explains that the work was limited to comfort, a check-up, and providing service from basic medicine to a Band-Aid, basically a temporary fix.
“We show up, we do what we can,” he said. “As you do more of this and the organization gets in here and does more of this, hopefully you find out where you fit in the system and you can help people get the care that they need over time. But it’s war time. It’s chaos. It’s not coordinated. There is no system. You know, the reason that we’re there is precisely because these people aren’t getting care and they haven’t seen doctors in months. We’re trying to find a sweet spot of filling a need, where we can actually do something and help people in a way with the medications we have in a meaningful way that does help.”
Dr. Burchett says he really could have used the help of a nurse to take blood pressure and administer needles, and he recommends more people travel abroad to help out. He linked up with a group called SSF – a French acronym for rescuers without borders.
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The World Economic Forum estimates about 6.5 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries since Russia invaded in late February.