May 13, 2022

Tangible Love: Serving Patients in Ukraine

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Show Notes

As the conflict in Ukraine continues, millions of people are displaced. Families are in desperate need of medical care, food, and other life-saving essentials. Samaritan’s Purse has been responding in Ukraine since the end of February and now has more than 130 disaster response specialists on the ground at any given time.

This episode takes you inside the Emergency Field Hospital in Lviv and to outpatient clinics where Samaritan’s Purse medical personnel are serving refugees as they flee from the east. First, Kristy talks with Kaitlyn, a member of the podcast team, who recently returned from Ukraine. They discuss the importance of flexibility during disaster responses and how the team continues to adapt.

“The team was constantly assessing how we could best tailor this response to meet the needs, serve the people who are most vulnerable, and meet them right along their journey,” Kaitlyn said.

That ability to adapt is what led Samaritan’s Purse to establish outpatient medical clinics at busy points of transit where refugees were fleeing. Kaitlyn introduces listeners to refugees who received medical care at some of our clinics. They tell stories of bombings and dead bodies in the streets of Ukraine—vividly painting the gravity of the situation.

One of the nurses serving at the bus station clinic described what she is seeing in her patients.

“Physically, they are just doing the motion. Getting from A to B, B to C, and C to D. Emotionally they’ve been shredded. They’ve left bits and pieces of family behind,” Gabi said.

Because of this heartache and trauma, many patients benefit just as much— or even more—from the love and spiritual care that they receive at our clinic. In this episode, you can hear the heart of many of our Disaster Assistance Response Team members.

“The times that we get to love on our patients from an emotional and mental standpoint are the times that are the most precious. We’re not here just to treat the physical ailments of these patients. We are here to show them the love of Jesus in a time that is so dark in their lives and to step in for just a minute to show them God’s love and just be a safe space for them.” – Shannon, a nurse serving at the bus station clinic in Ukraine.

Many of the patients in Ukraine are moving at a rapid pace so the touchpoints with Samaritan’s Purse doctors and nurses are often quick. However, there are times when the team has the chance to care for and love on patients for multiple days. This was the case of Vasyl, a refugee on his way to Poland.

Vasyl first came to our outpatient clinic at the train station, but his wound was severely infected so the team referred him to the Emergency Field Hospital in Lviv. If not treated immediately, the doctors knew this injury could require the amputation of his right foot. Vasyl was quickly scheduled for surgery.

Over the next few days, the team had the chance to get to know Vasyl as he recovered from surgery. One of the nurse practitioners said that he was so expressive, you almost didn’t even need a translator. Together, the team laughed and cried and celebrated Vasyl’s recovery.

Vasyl thanked Samaritan’s Purse for the high-quality care that he received.

“You do a big mission…you are not afraid. You go when people are in dire straits.”

The episode closes with ways to more specifically pray for the people of Ukraine and the disaster response members who are serving in Jesus’ Name.