Heartfelt gratitude – Dmytro Havro

Dmytro Havro

Nurse of the admitting department of the Mariupol Regional Hospital

We attended to everyone, stood up to our elbows in blood, and bandaged the injured. We broke our backs carrying patients in our arms. We closed the eyes of children who died. And when the shelling began, we fell face down on the floor next to the shaking walls.

It was terribly hard. It was our hell.

I am a nurse in the admitting department of the Mariupol Regional Hospital. On the morning of February 24, I was about to join the ranks of the Armed Forces when I got a message: "Guys, come to work. We have too many wounded here." And I rushed to the hospital. I was more needed there.

We received more than 100 people on the first day.

Mainly from the city's outskirts and nearby villages. Our regional hospital was the first in line to feel the horror of war. We helped, bandaged, and operated on the wounded. But we had no idea that from that day, none of the doctors would be able to return home.

We hadn't slept in days because the wounded came in incessantly.

We didn't feel our backs because there was no electricity, and we carried patients upstairs in our arms. The pain was excruciating, but it wasn't physical. Fear for our relatives was the hardest thing to bear. Every time we fell face down on the floor… Yes, you got it right; we were carrying a patient down the hall when bombs began falling on our heads. And when we lay there, I only prayed that my loved ones were safe.

After everything we went through in the hospital that day, I decided to propose to my girlfriend. I promised to give her an engagement ring after the war. As soon as I happily heard her agree to marry me, I rushed back to the hospital. A few more weeks of horrors awaited me there.

Every day we received more than 120-150 wounded.

We operated wherever there was light. We were up to our elbows in blood, and we fell to the floor mid-procedure every time there was shelling. We lay on the floor next to the walls that shook every 30 minutes. It was horrifying—day by day. Only our hospital received 742 patients before March 10... 742 patients...

Among these patients were pregnant women from the maternity ward bombed on March 9. We admitted and triaged them according to the severity of their injuries. One girl was 40 weeks pregnant. She suffered multiple injuries to her legs and torso. Neither she nor the child could be saved.

During these days, six children died in my care.

I admitted them and started resuscitation. How do I find words to describe what I felt at those moments? It is unbearable to look at a child's face, waiting for any reaction in its body, only to see its eyes roll back. Those were the days of hell.

At that time, I felt something important. Right there, I knew that I would never leave my profession. I am a medic and have to stand as an immovable barrier between life and death. It was always my dream, and now it has come true.