In a ceremony held on Sunday, participants in the war against Russian invaders received the People’s Hero of Ukraine order. Among the awardees was the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital team. As noted by one of the event’s emcees, Ukrainian actress and director Kateryna Stepankova, “everyone knows the abbreviation PFVMH – everyone involved in the war knows what PFVMH is.”
PFVMH Medical Director Svitlana Druzenko accepted the order on behalf of the hospital presented at the ceremony by legendary Halyna Almazova – People’s Hero of Ukraine, deputy commander of the 518th battalion “Wild Field” of the Ivan Bohun 1st Separate Special Purpose Brigade.
“When we were assaulting Bayrak in Kharkiv Oblast near Balakleya, and I had more than 120 wounded in one day and only two medics in the battalion […], I called Svitlana, and Svitlana said: ‘Where and when should we be?’ That’s it, there were no more questions,” said Almazova.
According to Halyna, when the assaults began two days later, the PFVMH had already set up a stabilization point, to which 30 seriously wounded were brought almost simultaneously. “The matter was not just applying a tourniquet, stopping the bleeding. Those were 30 seriously injured people who needed resuscitation,” Halyna emphasized. “I don’t know if we could have coped without PFVMH.”
She added that in the 518th battalion alone, the PFVMH medics saved about 200 soldiers – “not delivered, not transported but just saved.” “Wherever there are ‘hot spots,’ you will see the symbols of PFVMH.”
“More than 29,000 wounded people have passed through the hands of our medics only since the full-scale invasion [of Russia on Feb. 24, 2022],” said Svitlana.
She recalled that PFVMH will turn nine years on Dec. 15. “And this award is an award for every member of the First Volunteer Mobile Hospital who has left a piece of oneself, one’s professionalism, one’s soul to you [defenders of Ukraine] and tried to do one’s best to save, transport, cure the patient.”
Before the full-scale invasion, PFVMH provided care to about 60,000 patients. Thus, the approximate total number of the volunteer hospital’s patients is about 90,000 military and civilian Ukrainians.
The People’s Hero of Ukraine order is a non-governmental award introduced in 2015 at the initiative of antiques collector and volunteer Andriy Boyechko and jeweler Dmytro Scherbakov.
According to the People’s Hero of Ukraine website, the “people’s” attribute of this award “consists in the fact that the silver for its manufacture is still handed over by ordinary Ukrainians from all over the world, jewelers cast the tridents without taking a single penny for their work, and any person can make the nomination by filling out a special nomination form.”