On the Front Line

“24th February 2022, 5 o’clock in the morning, each of us knows where he was. Some members of the organization were in hospitals at their workplaces, some at home and some in Europe, some knew each other from before, others became friends in the worst conditions while saving other people’s lives.

One of the teams immediately made a Medevac vehicle and they set off for Irpin and Buche, some in Kharkiv were pulling out the wounded from under the ruins, rescued them in vehicles on the way to hospitals that were constantly under artillery and aviation attacks. Since that morning on February 24, all members of the organization have been constantly working where it is most needed. Months of struggle followed with very little or no medicine, no tourniquets, there was nothing in the country, and considering the size of the country and the needs, very quickly the shops in the EU ran out of supplies and there were not as many on the market as we were need. In one moment, we didn’t even have food and we started begging Europe to send us pasta, canned goods, anything, so we could stock up. We knew about each other from social networks, through hospitals, we shared the little help we had. If better humanitarian aid came, we immediately called colleagues who needed it more. Our vehicles were ordinary civilian ones that we converted into evacuation vehicles because very often the Russians targeted medical vehicles and we simply did not have enough vehicles. We would sleep maybe for a few hours, 3-4 hours, we had to share rooms, sometimes some team members would also sleep in vehicles. The first three months passed like an awful dream, and even now day we are shocked at how lucky we were to be alive. The first liberations of Kiev and Kharkiv Oblasts began, that raised our morale a little, but we knew that this was not the end. We decided to unite in one organization, the best of the best. After the liberation of Kyiv, some of teams went to Bakhmut and some of them joined the team in Kharkiv.

All the hospitals knew that we were in the field, that we were stabilizing the most seriously wounded, and very soon the hospitals themselves started calling us for help, because there was a lack of doctors. Most of us left our jobs and started volunteering as doctors in the field, where it was most needed. Food, water, gasoline, was given to us by the army, medical equipment and medicines would be provided by volunteers. Our work was and still is extremely appreciated and well-known in Ukraine, our team members have great expertise in trauma emergency and prehospital. The months of working in only one point of stabilization in Bakhmut and Kharkiv left us all with inerasable memories. After the fall of Bakhmut, there was less and less help, it seemed as if the world got tired of Ukraine or gave up on us, there was less and less help and the army and frontline hospitals needed us more than ever. We tried to hold on, we collected money publicly, we asked for new vehicles and equipment, but an answer was hardly there.  Each of our members gave a large part of themselves, their health, their life and money. Our teams would certainly have had to stop work if Cares Ukraine had not appeared. Thanks to them we are now at in the war hot spots, from Liman, Konstantinevka, Kurahove, to Kherson. In the last 10 months, we were finally able to work normally with less stress because we had medicine, equipment, vehicle repairs, winter and summer tires; we equipped all teams with tactical medicine, some of us finally got body armour and helmets. 

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Above is a video featuring footage from Ukraine and the MM Rescue Team of which our charity Caresukraine are an active supporter. 

We have the feeling that we are not alone, we could even dedicate resources to psychological health. Many of us would work in a hospital and give that salary for medicine and equipment, and then ask for unpaid leave so we can go to the front. I thank Cares Ukraine for giving us back hope and the possibility to save lives. And not only that, we were also able to have a little more peaceful lives and devote ourselves to the psychological support that all team members need. One of the events that we will always remember is the lucky moment when we left a vehicle in Bakhmut and just before the moment artillery hit it. All of us have numerous difficult memories of coming under fire while we were crawling to the wounded without helmets. It had consequences for all of us. During one duty in the town of Liman, just 7 km from the front line, one of the anaesthesiologists went out to take fresh air, he did not notice that it was raining, he did not notice that he was wet, when he felt the cold, he returned to the hospital and said: I felt I’m alive, I feel cold.” We were all so exhausted from work, tired of death that we forgot about our needs.  The medical equipment we have now, medicines and equipment for the teams, has made our work and life easier, and the results are getting better. That’s how we were contacted by a special organistation, who found out about our teams of doctors working so close to the frontline, and asked us to help them on the first and second lines of evacuation where their organization cannot go. 

We are deeply grateful to Cares Ukraine for helping us because you are saving lives with us. We specialize in trauma emergency and prehospital care, we cover points where there is a lack of surgeons and anaesthesiologists, where there is a lack of emergency medical aid vehicles with equipment for patient resuscitation.

We know that are hard times ahead of us, but we are not alone. A million thank you to our friends from Cares Ukraine for all their support.”

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