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  • 01 March 2017
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PFVMH’s first mission in Petropavlivka over

Yesterday, doctors of the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital returned home with an official certificate of acknowledgement after completion of the PFVMH’s first mission in Petropavlivka, Luhansk Oblast. On behalf of personnel and patients of the Petropavlivka Hospital, its chief physician had written, addressing the volunteer hospital’s management, “During the period of collaboration with you and your doctors we have learned that you really love your job, are professionals in your business, and devote all your energies and skills to our common cause – provision of medical aid to people.”

Iryna Yosypenko, scientist and top-category surgeon of the Health Ministry’s Emergency Medicine Center, came on rotation to Petropavlivka, Stanytsya Luhanska District, on Jan. 30. “The mission was very strenuous, because I worked round the clock. There was no such notion as night or day off,” she said.

One more PFVMH volunteer worked with her in the Petropavlivka Hospital – Vadym Franchuk, emergency physician from Zaporizhya (In Petropavlivka, according to the personnel arrangement, he held the position of medical assistant).

At the Emergency Medicine Center, Reserve Captain Iryna Yosypenko has been working after the discharge – she served as a surgeon at the General Kulchytsky Battalion. She did her service in Stanytsya Luhanska in January through May 2015, when the Ukrainian positions there were under dense and aimed fire. “Now these places are extremely dear to me,” Iryna Yosypenko wrote on Facebook in February 2017, having returned there as a PFVMH volunteer.

According to Ms. Yosypenko, this PFVMH mission in comparison with here battle rotations was a “mere stroll.” “However, if you compare it with your ordinary work, even with all the bonuses ‘for strenuosity,’ ‘for intensity,’ and ‘for complexity,’ this mission was just back-breaking,” she observed.

Iryna Yosypenko in the Petropavlivka Hospital with a patient. Photo by Artem Slipachuk

“When I served at the Kulchytsky Battalion, I never refused to help locals; did everything, even pulled people from rubble, although it’s not exactly a surgeon’s function. When I went on the mission with the PFVMH, I thought it would be the same, that is, aid to warriors in the first place. However, it turned out to be just the other way around: there were only a few military patients,” said the volunteer doctor.

Two years ago, Ms. Yosypenko with her brothers in arms under shelling pulled two local residents from a half-ruined building and stabilized them in her makeshift mini operating room (“It’s all under shelling. A mortar bomb exploded some 20 meters from me and knocked out the wooden boards that covered the windows”). After that, on her insistence, the victims were brought right to the Petropavlivka Hospital – in the dead of night, with the headlights off. “And now, during this mission, this hospital’s team on duty, which had admitted these victims in 2015, recognized me!” Ms. Yosypenko said.

Iryna Yosypenko: “Stanytsya Luhanska has been substantially restored since I was here two years ago, but damaged houses like this still remain” (Feb. 2, 2017)

Iryna Yosypenko was born in Ukraine, but until the age of 14, she lived in Syria, where her father “taught Syrians and Iraqis to extract oil.” So she perceives Syria as her motherland, like Ukraine. This means that Russia wages war on her second motherland too. “I do care,” Reserve Captain Iryna Yosypenko stressed. “It’s also an answer to the question, why I went to the war. And I will go again, as much as it will be necessary and as much as I am able.”

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