Solemn reopening of the Burns Department took place in Kramatorsk in February 2018.
All construction works were carried out at the expense of “Pope for Ukraine” Initiative in partnership with CBN “Emmanuel”.

On February 20, a press conference devoted to the event was held at Anti-Crisis Media Center in Kramatorsk. Oleg Andreev, the head of the Burns Treatment Department, Galina Kucher, the project director from CBN-Emmanuel, representatives of the city and regional authorities and a representative of PJSC “Novokramatorsk Machine Factory” participated in the press-conference.

Since the beginning of the war in eastern Ukraine, the Burns Treatment Department of Kramatorsk city hospital #3 has been performing the main functions of the regional burn ward for the entire Donetsk region. The majority of the patients of the Burns Unit are the locals with domestic and industrial burns, frostbites and wounds from shelling and mine explosions.

CBN “Emmanuel was elected by the Technical Committee of “Pope for Ukraine” Initiative to be the executive partner of this project. Catholics from all over the world responded to the appeal to help the people of the East of Ukraine, and 2,5 million UAH were donated only to repair this medical institution.

When we met the medical team of the Burns Treatment Department, we were impressed by their attentive attitude towards the patients,” Galina Kucher told the journalists. “You can walk around the wards and make sure that all the patients are very grateful to the nurses and doctors for their sensitive attitude and human sympathy. These are very rare qualities nowadays. Despite of the terrible conditions at the hospital, the staff provided highly qualified assistance. After seeing this, we had a strong desire to help this Burns Center with the repairs”.

“Finally, we have a vacuum therapy apparatus and special functional beds – I believe we are the only hospital in Donetsk region that has these beds. They are amazing compared to the old saggy grids that we used to have before. They are very convenient both for the staff and for our heavy patients “, the head of the Burns Treatment Department told the journalists.

After the press conference, the media workers and the guests participated in the re-opening of the Burns Treatment Department. After the solemn cutting of the ribbon, journalists and government officials were able to walk through all the hospital rooms to see the drastic changes after the repairs and  talk to the patients.

Voropaeva Natalia, the senior nurse at the department, accompanied the guests in their tour around the renovated premises.  Natalya started working here at the age of 20, right after her graduation from the medical school and she experienced all the ups and downs of the department – she has helped many miners with burns caused by explosions in the mines and experienced the days of war in Kramatorsk, when the many wounded were placed on the floor in the hallway. For her, the major repairs carried out in her Burns Treatment Department is a special achievement!

The biggest bonus for me personally and for most of my colleagues is the newly installed hospital elevator which will help take the patients to the second floor, Natalia Voropaeva said. Before, we had to literally handcarry the wounded and burned people upstairs. The patients’ rooms are on the 2nd floor. The bodies of those who did not survive also had to be carried downstairs – and we did that too. Our Department had been functioning this way for the last 16 years I have been working here.

I will never forget the day of a very strong bombardment of Kramatorsk. We couldn’t leave the town because our work doesn’t allow us to quit and leave the wounded unattended. They were shooting violently that day and the windows were shaking when a very badly wounded and obese miner was admitted to the hospital. He weighed about 180-200 kilos! Just two of us – me and another nurse carried him upstairs in no time! We functioned on adrenaline because the shooting was terrible at the moment. We couldn’t even feel how heavy he was, we just wanted to escape from shelling! The next day, when the patient had to be taken for an exam, 3 men could barely raise him! So, I want to say that we really suffered without an elevator!

Now that we have this new elevator, we are able to deliver the wounded upstairs and downstairs very quickly. We get tired less, the patients do not suffer so much when they are carried, and, most importantly, we have more time to give it to the patients! ”

Kirichenko Alexander is a miner from the town of Pokrovsk. On January 22, during an explosion at the mine, he received a burn and was taken to the Kramatorsk Burns Treatment Department. It’s not his first time here – due to collapses and explosions at the mine, he suffers from burns quite often. Alexander remembers the department before and after repairs and can fully appreciate the renovations.

“I do not remember how the explosion occurred.  I woke up here at the hospital with a strong pain in my hands and back. Then there was a skin transplant operation. Now, a month later, I’m grateful to the doctor and the nurses for doing everything possible to make my wounds heal! I will be discharged from the hospital soon and I’ll go home to my family! These new renovations and repairs certainly affect my mood and help in the recovery! There is big difference in spending these days at the hospital on a bed with a curving grid compared to this hospital bed!”, Alexander shared with the guests.

Eugene, Alexander’s colleague, also suffered from the same explosion at the mine. The process of his recovery was approximately the same, so Eugene will soon go home as well.

“I’m just grateful to God that I survived the explosion! Usually people do not survive! I was severely injured, but the professional approach of medical staff and modern medical equipment helped my burns heal really quickly! It is so great that the Pope himself helped with the repairs! I don’t even know how long I would have stayed here without the new shower and the elevator!”

Ekaterina Evdokimovna is 100 years old! She was trying to start the stove at home when her clothes caught fire. 70% of her body is covered with burns. She hasn’t regained her consciousness to the full while staying at the hospital and she sleeps most of the time.

We feel so sorry for this old lady, because no one comes to visit her,” said Nurse Anya. “We don’t know whether she will survive, but we will do everything that depends on us!”

Alexandra Antonivna also tried to start the furnace at home. Because of her small pension, the old lady has to collect brushwood to keep herself warm.

“It was very cold that night.  My firewood was wet and I couldn’t start the oven for a long time. So, I took some gasoline, poured a little and set it on fire … The second when I lit the match, a red flame immediately lit everything around! I was really scared – I thought the house was on fire. My robe caught fire, and then I felt a terrible pain. Then I was taken to this hospital and had several surgeries.  I’ve been here for the last 2 months. Thanks to God, my wounds are healing and hopefully, I will be out of here soon!”

Andriy tried to cross the frozen river walking on the ice. Unluckily, the ice cracked and the man began to sink.

With all my strength, I tried to get out, and I did. Unfortunately, I lost my boots in the water and I went home barefoot in the snow. When I got home, it felt like I got warm, but after 2 days, my legs began to swell. I went to this hospital and I was told that amputation was my only option… This is how I lost half of my left foot and all the fingers on my right foot. And I’m only 29 years old… So, here is my advice to you – do not walk on ice!”, Andriy said with a sad smile.

95-year-old Olga Vasilevna fell at home and ripped a piece of skin from her leg. She was found by her daughter and taken to the hospital with bleeding. In the Burns Treatment Department, the lady had a skin transplantation. It takes a lot of time for the wound to heal but there is hope of a full recovery.

Journalists present at the press-conference were able to talk to many patients and medical staff and all conversations point to one conclusion – everyone is sincerely grateful for the repairs. The working days of medical workers and seriously ill patients have become much easier and brighter thanks to the joint efforts of the “Pope for Ukraine” Initiative CBN-“Emmanuel”.

In 2016, the total repair expenses included:  600,000 UAH spent for the repair the facade and windows installation were covered from the local budget. 180,000 UAH were spent for the internal repairs. Due to the sponsorship of PJSC “Novokramatorsk Machine Factory”, equipment for disinfection and a resuscitation bed was purchased for patients with a high area of ​​burns on the body.

CBN “Emmanuel” invested 2.5 million UAH for modernization of the Burns Treatment Department thanks to the grant funding from “Pope for Ukraine” Initiative.  The following premises were completely renovated in the framework of this grant project – internal premises, a bathroom for medical bathing of patients, hospital rooms for children and adults, a buffet, an operating room and pre-operational ward. The electric power supply and heating system were completely replaced. Modernization project also included installation of a new medical elevator and purchase of new furniture.

There had been no repairs or renovations in this hospital for half of a century! Now that the repairs are finished, everything looks quite different: clean chambers,  new ceilings, flooring and new electrical equipment. Even the corridors look much brighter!”- summed up Galina Kucher.

We are grateful to Pope Francis and all Catholic Christians from Europe who answered the Popes call for help the conflict-affected people of Donbass!