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Lending medical support to Ukraine
By Michael Laff
April 6, 2023

Lending medical support to Ukraine

Greg Klaus, a volunteer with International Medical Corps, helps to lead an emergency-care training course in Ukraine. (© Yelyzaveta Kalnybolotska/International Medical Corps)


Lily Manson, a 7-year-old Illinois girl, watched news about Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on television and wanted to help.

Her father, Chris Manson, told Voice of America that during dinner she asked, “Can we pray for the people of Ukraine?” They did more than pray.

An ambulance donated by OSF HealthCare is sprinkled with holy water before being sent to Ukraine. (© OSF HealthCare)


Manson took action. He has helped deliver 28 ambulances and one fire engine to Ukraine. He also organizes fundraisers to support the initiative. People across the United States are supplying Ukraine with medical supplies or expertise. Bruce Foulke, president and chief executive officer of the American Heritage Credit Union in Philadelphia, has provided emergency medical supplies, including for refugees from Ukraine in Poland. He also raised $400,000 from credit union executives toward the purchase of five ambulances and medical equipment for children’s hospitals in Ukraine. Two ambulances were given to the Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital. Foulke said he felt a sense of responsibility as a “global citizen” to help.

Surgical expertise

Dr. John Holcomb works in a hospital operating room May 10, 2022, in Lviv, Ukraine. (Courtesy of Dr. John B. Holcomb)

Dr. John Holcomb, a surgeon and U.S. Army veteran, has helped train local medical professionals. He expressed dismay with Russia’s attacks on health facilities.

“I think all of us kind of get a punch in the gut when we see that,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb volunteered with Global Surgical and Medical Support Group, a U.S. nonprofit with rotating teams of 10 to 20 civilian physicians, nurses and medics. The organization has trained more than 20,000 medical staff in Ukraine.

Holcomb provided patient care and training at a civilian hospital in Lviv.

A mental health facility opened in Lviv with support from the Arizae Foundation, the charitable division of JustAnswer, a San Francisco-based tech company. The site offers treatment for people in the military and others who need assistance dealing with trauma.

Offering hope

As a volunteer with the International Medical Corps, Greg Klaus of Connecticut helps train nurses in Ukraine on critical care. Sometimes he would teach classes in a hotel or online because locations were being shelled.

“I was able to walk into that life and walk out of it very quickly,” he said. “These folks are living it every day.”

JustAnswer chief executive officer Andy Kurtzig, right, in October 2022 with a worker at a mental health center in Lviv, left, and a Ukrainian soldier who had part of his leg amputated. (© JustAnswer)

Yakov Gradinar, a Ukrainian American, helps Ukrainians who have lost limbs. The Protez Foundation in Minnesota has provided prosthetic limbs for 22 Ukrainians as of December 2022. Patients, both service members and civilians, travel to the facility where they receive care and rehabilitation.

The foundation works with a manufacturer and local charities to cover the costs. American volunteers comprise half of the clinic staff.

“I always look for opportunities like this so I can help people,” Gradinar told Voice of America.

Volunteers with Razom for Ukraine, a New York-based nonprofit, pack firefighting and medical donations for shipment to Ukraine February 8 in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. (© John Minchillo/AP)