Doctors are preparing for a cold day in the basement.they have already spent four months playing surgery This year, from the early days of the war to the Russian occupation of Idium.
If nothing compares to the winter air blowing in through the glassless windows and collapsing walls of a northeastern hilltop hospital, at least you can expect a generator to provide a steady supply of fuel. Ukraine.
The hospital was the only medical facility to remain open when Russian forces overran Idium in early March, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine. The city returned to Ukrainian hands last month in the midst of a counteroffensive that has taken a toll on Moscow’s war objectives and military prestige.
Signs around the entire hospital warning of mines disappear one by one as Ukrainian sappers painstakingly clear each patch of ground.of scar From what happened here, to the building, to the people who provided and received care, it will take much longer to heal.
The body was recovered in the morgue. The morgue has no power and the stench is strong but not fatal. An autopsy was and is not possible then. Three staff members no longer make sense and are on the verge of leaving.
The dead need less electricity than the living. In addition, the shadow of the morgue obscures a hole in the ceiling from a Chechen soldier’s bullet that pierced the neck and stomach of a staff pathologist who bled in front of his colleagues.
On the other side of the hospital grounds is an emergency medical station, which also has no power. The paramedic chief can hardly speak of his six months under Russian occupation, where every day was a new horror.
Abandoned is the central shattered building that served as a Russian military hospital. It is strewn with empty liquor bottles with encouraging drawings from children. Dirty uniforms litter the floor and bloody stretchers lean against the walls.
The handful of doctors, nurses, paramedics and pathologists who stayed during the occupation found ways to contain the Russians in their midst.
Serhiy Botsman so badly wants to forget his worst days as a paramedic.like a little cat coiling around him ankle, his gaze turns to the memory of a woman screaming as she lies helplessly under two corpses. Her injuries eventually took her leg away – an amputation done in an underground surgery.
But at least she survived.botsman inner eye Stick to the spilled intestines of a 6-year-old boy who begged his mother to help him. Neither mother nor son survived that day.
“No one is coming to help us,” he said. “I am tired. ?”
Morgue workers had a role to play when medical training failed, ensuring the dead were not forgotten in a city where many friends and family fled. grave It was marked with a number rather than a name.
Dr. Yuri Kuznetsov, a trauma surgeon, also struggles with his memory. He saw injuries from bombs, bullets, and shrapnel, and it looked like torture, though those who had arrived to seek help for his injuries refused to explain.
“When asked if he can see in his dreams all the people he’s eliminated, it’s like being a sniper. The dark circles deepened. He no longer had an intact home to return to – the bomb ensured that.
Until July, Kuznetsov lived in the basement of the hospital. Two stretchers were placed on wheels and a low bed served as an operating table. It was so cold in the room that “you had to warm it up against your body in order to inject the solution,” he recalls. An electrician who kept the lights on with a diesel generator was just as important as a surgeon in a dimly lit environment.
“We were all very depressed at times. We cried and cursed. We didn’t want to do anything,” Kuznetsov said. “With all the people that were saved, with all the lives that were saved, the confidence (that it was right) that I stayed here.
When the bombing subsided and Russian forces took control of Idium, he found a makeshift home outside the hospital and moved his surgery to the ground floor.
That’s where he still works, with reasonably solid walls and the only wing intact. WindowsWhen the thermometer drops below freezing, he expects to put everything back in the basement where the temperature is cooler but stable.
Memories of Fedir Zdebskyi’s death haunt hospital workers who survived the Russian occupation. According to his colleague Valentyna Bachanova, who witnessed his death, Zdebskyi was a dedicated pathologist and refused to let his prosthetic leg slow him down.
Bachanova said Zdebskyi regularly drove his Volkswagen over the rugged hospital grounds to the morgue and cataloged the dead, even though war was raging in the neighborhood. One day, a Chechen soldier decided he wanted a car for himself and refused Zdevsky’s offer to drive.
“Because of you I am sleeping on the damp ground,” said the soldier.
Zdebski lost his temper after a brief exchange with a soldier who called himself Ahmed and said he had been at war for 26 years.
“It’s your responsibility to come here. You came to my land. According to Bachanova and another colleague in the room, you came here to kill and rob,” the pathologist said. rice field.
The last words he heard were from Chechens. “Your life is still in my hands.” Then five shots at him, two of him in the head, two of him in the abdomen, and one in the ceiling. Zdebsky was 70 years old.
When the last witness to his death heard, his body was taken across the border to Belgorod, Russia. A soldier’s commander comes to take their statements, but more than that, they don’t know what happened to the man who killed Zdevsky.
They knew their colleagues.
“He always cared. People were dying, but he cared for their children, their relatives, their mothers. He always said, ‘This is somebody’s son, somebody’s father, somebody’s husband.’ He said,” Bachanova sighed deeply. “Of course, there’s no point in trying to prove anything to a man with a weapon.”
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