SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — It’s been 8 months since Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine. Since then, around 14 million Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes, according to the United Nations.
While millions have fled the country, there are those who travel to Ukraine to offer help. Some are from the San Francisco-based organization Doctor’s Outreach.
KRON4 spoke with one of its doctors about what it’s like to work in a Ukrainian hospital.
Dr. Eduardo Dolhun went on his first medical trip to Ukraine a month after Russia’s invasion. He just returned on Saturday from his second time there and is already planning a third.
From deadly air strikes to massive power blackouts, life in Ukraine has been difficult. In other parts of the world, the blue and yellow flag of the country hangs in solidarity — including in Dr. Eduardo Dolhun’s San Francisco office.
“23rd war that Ukraine has had with Russia, so I felt a deep obligation to do something,” Dolhun said.
The Disaster Medicine Specialist, who has half Ukrainian, has traveled all over the world to help after earthquakes, hurricanes, and typhoons. Just a few weeks after the Russian Invasion, Dolhun decided to travel to Lviv, Ukraine to experience his first war zone.
Bringing medical supplies with him and offering his expertise at a Veteran’s Hospital.
“Folks with amputations, paralyzed patients where bullets or shrapnel had severed the spinal cord and so a lot of them were in rehab,” Dolhun said.
Each patient had a story to share and influenced Dr. Dolhun to return to Ukraine for a second time in October.
During both trips, he experienced days when sirens went off to warn about the possibility of a military air strike.
“It is very eerie not knowing when a bomb can land on you. That’s scary,” Dolhun said.
Scary, but the doctor says you’d be surprised to see the level of resistance shared by Ukrainians.
Partly because of the evening video messages seen each night by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but also because of the people’s love of their country — not willing to give it up.
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“I heard no person willing to compromise and negotiate with Russia they want all of their territory back and are willing to fight to the end for it,” Dolhun said.
Dr. Dolhun says he plans on making another trip to Ukraine as soon as he’s able. For his next trip, he wants to bring satellites with him to donate to the Ukrainian military to help with faster communication.