A heroic MP has told how she traveled to Ukraine to train doctors in warzone medicine – and ended up helping a family on the run whose cars were shot down by a Russian armored vehicle.
Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan, Labor MP for Tooting, traveled to Lviv with the NGO MedGlobal to deliver 170 cases of urgently needed supplies.
Taim, on her eighth humanitarian trip since becoming an MP in 2016, was to train 250 doctors to treat civilians caught up in the Russian attack.
Dr Allin-Khan, who has also worked as an A&E doctor on the UK Covid frontline, said: ‘Because my expertise for the past 14 years has been humanitarian medicine, I specialize in this type of work in war zones and disaster situations.
“The main objective was to meet doctors, in person and virtually, from all over Ukraine. The pleas of these doctors and the
the people from the Ministry of Health were so desperate.
The day before their departure for Ukraine, Russian shells had targeted a maternity hospital in Mariupol.
Dr Allin-Khan said: ‘Nothing was off limits. It’s wild.
“The feeling was of sheer panic that hospital health care facilities, along with doctors and nurses, were going to be targeted. The siege method, starvation – and the great fear was that ultimately there would be l use of chemical weapons.
As well as those wanting advice on “the right kind of tourniquet to use in the field,” she said the professionals they train range from psychiatrists dealing with trauma to family physicians wanting to know what to do “when children arrive suffocated to death”.
Other ideas came directly from experience in other war zones, such as moving patients from the upper floors of a hospital to the relative safety of the basement, and the best place to put sandbags. .
A few days later, she revealed, some of those she had trained were among hundreds taken hostage by Russian troops at another hospital in Mariupol.
Dr Allin-Khan said: “It was heartbreaking to hear their fears and what they saw on the pitch.
“It was obvious that the Syrian manual was being used.”
She said she became a humanitarian doctor because she “wanted to give a voice to the voiceless” – and what she saw in Ukraine will stay with her for a long time.
Dr Allin-Khan added: “It is a privilege to have a platform where I can share the experiences of families who have gone through unimaginable trauma. We felt how surreal it was to get home safely.
“We were going to be able to go home and hug our children. We had left a whole struggling country behind. The scene I won’t forget was at the Polish border, seeing a group of people waiting to cross – and small children holding their teddy bears.
“I have two young children and I thought, ‘It could easily be them.’
“En masse, these women and children, have just walked through a new life with a teddy bear and a few personal effects.”
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