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2024/5/22
Under Deadly Bombings, MIMSC Goes Ahead to Offer Medical Services in Ukraine

Taiwan Church News

3768 Edition

May 13 ~ 19, 2024

Weekly Topical

Under Deadly Bombings, MIMSC Goes Ahead to Offer Medical Services in Ukraine

Reported by Lin Yi-ying

The project of “Ukraine-Mackay Medical Mission” went to southern Ukraine for its third-time mission on April 21. At 4:20 a.m. on the 28th, the hotel, where the mission members stayed in Nikolayev province, was attacked by five consecutive Russian missiles. The medical team hurriedly woke up each other asleep and hid into the hotel basement.

Ms Hsu Wang-tih, deputy director of Mackay International Medical Service Center (henceforth MIMSC) , said frankly that it was the first time she felt a threat of death so close, and everyone held hands in hands in the dark and prayed for peace. Fortunately, all mission members was safe and uninjured during the missile attack.

(photo/MIMSC)

Retrieving the missile attacks, Ms Hsu recalled that she heard an air raid sirens sounding in the early morning of April 28. Soon she heard explosions and the sounds of breaking glass in the hotel. She also heard the panics and fears sounded from next rooms in Ukrainian language because the glass and door of the rooms were blasted away.

Against the terrific shouting filled within the hotel, Ms Hsu immediately searched other members of the medical team in the dark and led them to the hotel basement for refuge. Everyone shed tears when they thought about the horrific bombardments that local residents had to suffer and endure since the Russia launched its invasion from 2022.

(photo/MIMSC)

In fact, the Ukraine-MacKay Medical Mission emphasized safety rules in their pre-departure briefings, such as keeping mobile phones, wallets and IDs in personal bags, wearing working clothes in sleep, and even wearing shoes asleep as much as possible in case of emergence. In the meanwhile, mission members were reminded to work and move in pairs or in group for safety.

The mission members hid in the basement for about an hour and a half. After the Ukrainian army and police came to announce that the hotel outside was safe and told everyone to leave, five members of the medical mission team promptly returned to their rooms, where the doors and windows were blown away, packed up their luggage and evacuated to a safer area. According to local media, before the missile attacks, the Russian army suspected that two local hotels were hiding armed mercenaries.

(photo/MIMSC)

Dr Tsai Wei-de, director of the MIMSC, remarked that the first two visits of MIMSC to Ukraine were free clinics in the western Ukraine. However, with the stalemate of the war between Ukraine and Russia, the shortage of medical manpower in southern Ukraine becomes much more serious.

After consulting about the actual needs of Ukraine and the local warfare situations, Dr Tsai learned that southern Ukraine had been attacked and occupied by the Russian army, but had not been attacked by air raids for nearly a year.

After a careful evaluation, the MIMSC medical mission still decided to go to the Odessa and Nikolayev areas in southern Ukraine, which is close to the Black Sea and about 10 kilometers from the Russian occupied territories, Dr Tsai indicated, even though a Russian military base at Crimea is near.

(photo/MIMSC)

On April 26 and 27, when the medical mission went to the village of Nikolayev for a free clinic, they found that most local buildings had been shelled, the walls were full of bullet holes , and even a school that used to train international sports players was utterly destroyed and turned into ruins. Residents with more connections and resources had moved to safer areas, leaving behind mostly the aged and the disadvantaged.

(photo/MIMSC)

Ms Hsu pointed out that about 80% of the Nikolayev patients suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most of them suffered from warfare casualties or their missing family members, as well as chest tightness and headaches caused by hearing air raid sirens every day. This phenomenon makes Mackay cardiologist Dr Chen Guan-ting very helpless, because no matter how good the medicine is, a sad heart is very hard to get cured. Dr Chen can only express his care and support through hugs and comfort.

(photo/MIMSC)

Dr Chen Guang-wei, director of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Department at Taipei Branch of Mackay Christian Hospital, provides a full set of traditional Chinese medicine treatments, including massage, acupuncture, moxibustion, and cupping therapy, to relieve patients’ pain caused by tight muscles and stabilize their emotions. In just two days, the medical team had served 167 villagers.

(photo/MIMSC)

MIMSC’s third trip to Ukraine was led by Dr Tsai Wei-de, including Ms Hsu Wang-tih; Dr Yang Jun-ren, superintendent of Hsinchu Children’s Hospital; Dr Chen Guang-wei; Dr Chen Guan-ting(cardiologist), and Dr Yan En-ze(dentist), a total of eight medic staffs. In the medical mission to southern Ukraine, Dr Tsai Wei-de paid another visit to Odessa, bringing two emergency physicians Dr Liao Chen-hao and Dr Wu Pei-shan to showcase how to conducting ultrasound diagnostics at two local hospitals. About 30 local doctors participated in the medic trainings in Odessa.

(photo/MIMSC)

In addition, the medical mission team also visited the Adult Burn and Scald Hospital, the Children’s Hospital, and the Medical Reconstruction Plan Park when they were in Lviv on April 24th. The mayor of Lviv personally received the medical mission team members and witnessed the commencement ceremony of Taiwan’s sponsorship of Ukraine’s burns and scalds project.

(photo/MIMSC)

Financed by the Disaster Relief Foundation, the MIMSC medical mission received a subsidy for its medical service in southern Ukraine; Ukrainian doctors will also be invited to visit Taiwan for a short-term medical training and work with third-party units to manufacture tailor-made prosthetic limbs for soldiers injured and amputated in Ukraine’s brave resistance against Russia.

Translated by Peter Wolfe


Submitted by:Taiwan Church Press
 
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