Donbass kids travel to Moscow for life-saving heart surgery amid mass medical shortages

RIA Novosti / Mikhail Voskresenskiy

Eight children with heart conditions, who are in need of urgent medical help, have travelled to Moscow from war-ravaged eastern Ukraine. Parents and doctors told RT that due to the humanitarian crisis, it was impossible to treat the kids locally.

MORE: Patients ‘dying of hunger cold’: WHO raises alarm
over healthcare in Ukraine

The children are from Donbass region, with the youngest patient
being less than a year old. They were transported by a Russian
Emergencies Ministry plane and taken to specialized hospitals in
the Russian capital on Thursday. The hospitals in Moscow have
advanced technology treatment facility’s that those in the east
of Ukraine lack.

The evacuation of children was organized by the Russian
philanthropist Elizaveta Glinka, who is widely known as Dr. Liza
for her humanitarian and charity work, the TV Tsentr (TVC)
channel reported.

“All the children have severe congenital disorders, mainly
with heart diseases. One child has multiple congenital anomalies,
including a central nervous system disorder and a cardiovascular
system disorder,”
a leading doctor at one of Moscow clinics
where the children were taken, told TVC.

READ MORE: Situation in Ukraine ‘nearing humanitarian
catastrophe’ – Amnesty Intl

Natalya Yermolayeva, the mother of baby Alyosha (Alex), who is
only 15 months old, described how there was no one left to take
care of her child where they lived.

“He has five heart disorders, but the local cardiologists have
left so there was nobody to monitor his [state of health]. He
also has a congenital fissure of the hard palate, which means we
have to do another operation,”
she said.

Another patient, who it just 1.5 months old, is a little girl
called Sadiya. She suffers from myelomeningocele, which is a
severe form of protrusion of the spinal cord, and had already
been operated in Ukraine. However, she got complications and is
now in an urgent need of diagnostics and treatment.

RT’s Murad Gazdiev had previously met the children and their
families at the Central Clinical Hospital in the war-torn city of
Donetsk, in the east of Ukraine, while they were waiting to get
the medical help they so desperately needed.

A still from RT video

There was understandable relief amongst the parents that their
children would be finally getting the care they deserved. “We
were offered treatment, and we’ve been waiting for this for some
time. We’re happy it all worked out,”
one of the parents
told RT.

Due to the current state of the Ukrainian economy, large numbers
of families have no way of paying for expensive operations.

READ MORE: OSCE on reporter safety: Deaf ear for Russians in

Another parent, who’s child was sent to Moscow for treatment,
said that they could not go to other parts of Ukraine for
treatment, as they “don’t have the money and they can’t carry
out the operation here.”

A doctor at the hospital in Donetsk explained that there is lack
of staff as “many have left, because they are not being

He also added that there is a shortage of medicines and said the
situation faced in Donetsk is, “a humanitarian

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stressed in March of
the urgent need to protect medical facilities and to make sure
medicines and medical supplies were safely delivered to
conflict-affected areas in Ukraine.

A statement released on March 19, said that
more than 100 health facilities have been damaged or destroyed
during the fighting in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The
fund’s emergency directors visited a hospital in Donetsk in March
saying that it “lacked even the most basic supplies,
including surgical gloves, IV fluid, antibiotics and

More than 3,000 civilians have died and over 2,200 people are
missing since the start of the military conflict in the
self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, the local human rights
commissioner’s press service said on Thursday.

READ MORE: Canada to send troops to Ukraine ‘in non-combat role’
– report

Leave a comment