A Ukrainian doctor visits Rifle’s Grand River Health, looking for medical supplies and medicine for the front line

Michael Duhrsen, of Grand River Well being Hospital, left, and Ukrainian Dr. Serhiy Serdynyuk unload medical provides in Ukraine in March 2022.
Courtesy / Annick Prut

Two docs from Grand River Well being and their households went to Ukraine lower than two months after the invasion of Russia. They introduced with them medical provides, $4,000 value of drugs and a great deal of necessary data.

Docs Michael Duersen and Heath Cotter taught younger Ukrainian fighters how one can bandage wounds. Deal with sick refugees. One in every of their daughters performed the harp for the orphans affected by the battle.

Throughout this humanitarian mission, two Rifle docs labored alongside two Ukrainian docs: husband and spouse Serhii and Yuliia Serdeniuk.



Shortly after 6pm EET on Thursday, Dr Serhiy skilled intermittent blackouts as he spoke to the Put up Unbiased by way of WhatsApp, a free worldwide calling service.

A disfigured man’s voice is muffled on the intercom at Angelia Clinic, A personal clinic nestled amongst a fleet of long-haul flats About two miles east of the Dnipro River in Kyiv, whereas Dr. Serhiy defined why he had briefly left Ukraine for Rifle, Colorado.



“I need to meet with as many individuals as attainable to ask you to assist our service,” he mentioned calmly, in his greatest English. “Simply yesterday our dental medical tools broke and we’d like $10,000 to exchange that.”

Annick Pruitt, director of neighborhood relations for Grand River Well being, mentioned Dr. Serhi, who has labored intently with Kotter and Duersen, is scheduled to look in Grand River Well being’s Colorado River Room from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Grand River Well being is positioned at 501 Airport Highway.

“He’ll present an replace on the state of affairs there in addition to an replace on the brand new clinic they’ve constructed,” she mentioned.

Serhiy is the director of the cell clinic unit. Go to these rolling medical bastions and serve the entrance strains of the battle, now totally on the nation’s japanese fringes. Thus far, he has carried out about 60-65 clinics, every serving about 30 individuals per day.

He mentioned provides are all the time dwindling. As Russia modified ways from a failed blitzkrieg strategy to a brutal battle of attrition, hospitals and faculties – even locations the place medicines are made – proceed to be focused by long-range missiles.

“Due to the battle, the Russians bombed two of the most important factories that produce medicines for Ukraine,” Dr. Serhi mentioned. “For the time being, even when we’ve got the cash, we can’t purchase it in Ukraine, as a result of it isn’t produced for Ukraine.”

Dr. Serhiy Serdenyuk, left, throughout a coaching course in Ukraine in March 2022.
Presenter / Annick Pruitt

Dr. Serhiy turned livelier as he continued to listing different medical wants. This consists of something and all the things, from $20,000 for a brand new ultrasound machine and a more moderen battery, to psychiatric drugs as a result of anxiousness amongst Ukrainians is now rampant. With the ability nonetheless out, Dr. Serhii works with a flashlight, typically even by candlelight.

Simply this week, Dr. Serhiy was taking a drive by way of Ukraine to Warsaw, Poland. From there, flight to Munich, Germany. Then a flight from Munich to Frankfurt, Germany. From Frankfurt, Denver Worldwide Airport. From Doha Worldwide Airport, boarding alongside Freeway 70 to Venice.

Then Dr. Serhiy turned apprehensive. He mentioned he did not need to depart for Colorado. He prefers to remain and assist as many individuals as attainable. At this second, he additionally remembered the assistance he acquired from overseas docs, together with Kotter and Duersen.

“These actually courageous guys,” he mentioned, “herald huge bins filled with medical provides.”

Docs Kotter and Dohersen as soon as joined Dr. Serhiy on a go to to a Ukrainian village close to the Romanian border. A gaggle of refugees not too long ago arrived from the war-torn metropolis of Mariupol, probably the most populated cities Cities have been badly destroyed throughout all the battle to date.

Dr. Serhi mentioned that one of many refugees, a 13-year-old boy, was bleeding profusely from his nostril for half an hour straight. With Dr. Cotter’s assist, the bleeding stopped inside three minutes, and the boy, who weighed about 110 kilos, survived.

“Dr. Heath stopped the bleeding by himself,” mentioned Dr. Serhiy. “It was a miracle that he was there at that second, when he was most wanted.

Once we stopped the bleeding, (the boy) began vomiting blood. We collected half a liter of blood that he had swallowed earlier than.”

The previous 11 months have clearly not been regular for Dr. Serhiy, whose first style of battle got here when he was referred to as up as a navy medic in 2015. When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Dr. Serhiy moved his household from Kyiv to Germany, and so they have been again ever since. now.

He mentioned he had meals, a roof over his head, and heat. He joked humorous that all the things in Kyiv is “not so unhealthy.” However he additionally misplaced quite a bit, together with pals.

“I misplaced,” he mentioned in a tone. Then he sighed. “My pal, he was a colonel within the Ukrainian military… Sure, I misplaced lots of people.”

December 21, 2022 marked a historic day within the historical past of the USA. It was the primary time, since British Prime Minister Winston Churchill did so in 1941, {that a} overseas nationwide chief had come to Washington to handle Congress. In his speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned that regardless of continued assist from the USA, there may be nonetheless extra to return.

He instructed Congress: “Your assist is essential, not solely to face by way of such a struggle, however to achieve the tipping level to win the battlefield.” “Now we have artillery, sure. Now we have it. Is that sufficient? Fairly frankly, not likely.”

In a really miniature model, Dr. Serhie’s go to to the Rifle is crammed with the identical intentions.

“I solely have one week to fulfill as many individuals as attainable,” he repeated. “As a result of on Tuesday I’ll return to Ukraine, and on Wednesday we are going to go to Mykolaiv. It’s a metropolis on the Black Sea, and so they bomb it day by day. We promise the individuals that we are going to be there and serve them for 3 days.”

“I can not miss this journey.”

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