Heartfelt gratitude – Oleksii Taran

Oleksii Taran

Anesthesiologist, head of the neonatal intensive care unit of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Clinical Hospital named after I. I. Mechnikov

Women came to us en masse from Kharkiv, the Donetsk region, Zaporizhzhia, and Mariupol. They were in distress. These women witnessed war and shelling, and now they are in intensive care with children born with defects, disorders, and severe health conditions.

All stories you see are complicated, and you remember each of them.

Most women were in a state of shock. A complicated pregnancy is already stressful, and then there is a war, and now they find themselves in a strange city. Where do you go for help, who do you ask, how, when? We were the ones ready to help them.

We often needed to listen to them, assist them, and cover their urgent needs, from finding diapers to finding a psychologist. There were all kinds of cases: premature, "Caesarean" babies and children with severe health conditions. We need to take care of them all.

A woman with a profoundly premature baby was brought in from Bakhmut, and we treated the baby for almost a month.

The mother had a locomotor disability. She first fled from Mariupol to Bakhmut, then got here. All departments helped her. She didn't have any belongings with her. On Vyshyvanka Day, we presented her with her first embroidered shirt.

And it was also necessary to attune our work to martial law conditions.

We prepared a shelter, trained to descend in case of alarms quickly. But when the sirens started wailing and the first bombings began, we realized this was not a viable option. Going to the basement with children in severe states is challenging, and many newborns in our care had severe ailments. We saw their condition deteriorate quickly, and negative dynamics began immediately.

And it's not like we were to spend only five minutes in the basement. Sometimes the alert was on for two or three hours. And moving patients from intensive care could lead to terrible consequences that require immediate medical intervention. So we decided not to move the children anywhere. We secured the premises and placed the patients away from the windows. All the same, doctors and parents stay with the children. They are never left unattended.

When the bombs fell close by, it was scary for everyone.

90% of the department is women. Tears and panic broke out immediately. I tried my best to console them. I talked with them, gave my support, brought candies, and bouquets, read poems and sometimes danced. Every woman is different, and everyone needs a different approach. But we had to stay alert to work. Even when our children are not around, these babies here depend on us. And no children are strangers to us.