Echoing down the corridors of eastern Ukraine’s Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital are the loud cries of tiny Veronika-Zamkuwire - Zamkuwire.com

Echoing down the corridors of eastern Ukraine’s Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital are the loud cries of tiny Veronika-Zamkuwire

0 0
Read Time:3 Minute, 57 Second

Alina Haupt, an intern-doctor, holds Veronika, a baby born prematurely at 29 weeks, at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Doctors say the stress caused by the war and rapidly worsening living conditions are leading to more frequent birth complications for the area's pregnant women. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Echoing down the corridors of eastern Ukraine’s Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital are the loud cries of tiny Veronika.

Born nearly two months prematurely weighing 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds, 4 ounces), the infant receives oxygen through a nasal tube to help her breathe while ultraviolet lamps inside an incubator treat her jaundice.

Dr. Tetiana Myroshnychenko carefully connects the tubes that allow Veronika to feed on her mother’s stored breast milk and ease her hunger.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, three hospitals in government-controlled areas of the country’s war-torn Donetsk region had facilities to care for premature babies. One was hit by a Russian airstrike and the other had to close as a result of the fighting ‒ leaving only the maternity hospital in the coal mining town of Pokrovsk still operating.

Dr. Tetiana Myroshnychenko, a neonatologist at Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital, checks on Veronika, a baby born nearly two months prematurely, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. In Ukraine’s war-torn eastern Donetsk region, only one hospital under government control remains equipped to care for babies born prematurely in government-held areas. Doctors say the stress caused by the war and rapidly worsening living conditions are leading to more frequent birth complications for the area's pregnant women.  (AP Photo/David Goldman)Timur, a newborn, is weighed for the first time after he was born at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. Doctors insist that the hospital must remain open because the journey west to a maternity hospital outside the war zone remains too risky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Andrii Dobrelia, 24, left, watches as a nurse prepares to hand him his son, Timur, after he was born at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. Dobrelia and his wife Maryna, 27, reached the hospital from a nearby village this morning. After a series of tests, Maryna was taken to the operating room for a C-section. Twenty minutes later, the cries of their newborn baby boy could be heard in an adjoining room where Andrii was waiting. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Andrii Dobrelia, kisses his son, Timur, as he holds him for the first time minutes after he was born at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. Almost afraid to breathe, Dobrelia tenderly kissed Timur's head and whispered to him. As the newborn calmed down on his father's chest, tears came to Andrii's eyes. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Inna Kyslychenko, 23, rocks her newborn baby, Yesenia, at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Kyslychenko is considering joining the region's massive evacuation westward when she leaves the hospital. "I fear for the little lives, not only for ours, but for all the children, for all of Ukraine," Kyslychenko says. More than 12 million people in Ukraine have fled their homes due to the war, according to United Nations relief agencies. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

 

Myroshnychenko, the site’s only remaining neonatologist, now lives at the hospital. Her 3-year-old son divides the week between staying at the facility and with his father, a coal miner, at home.

The doctor explains why it’s now impossible to leave: Even when the air-raid sirens sound, the babies in the hospital’s above-ground incubation ward cannot be disconnected from their lifesaving machines.

“If I carry Veronika to the shelter, that would take five minutes. But for her, those five minutes could be critical,” Myroshnychenko says.

Hospital officials say the proportion of births occurring prematurely or with complications has roughly doubled this year compared to previous times, blaming stress and rapidly worsening living standards for taking a toll on the pregnant women still left in the area.

Russia and Moscow-backed separatists now occupy just over half the Donetsk region, which is similar in size to Sicily or Massachusetts. Pokrovsk is still in a Ukrainian government-controlled area 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the front lines.

Misha, a baby born prematurely at 33 weeks, is checked on by staff in a room fortified with sandbags in the window at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital, the only one under government control remaining equipped to care for premature babies, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February, three hospitals had the facilities to care for premature babies in government-controlled areas of Donetsk, the war-torn region in the east of the country.  (AP Photo/David Goldman)Expecting mothers Natalia Yermolovich, 35, right, sits with Viktoria Shyshkova, 23, in the room they share while being monitored at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. At 31 weeks pregnant, Yermolovich was admitted to the hospital because of a potential complication. While taking the medications prescribed by her doctor daily, Yermolovich talks to her daughter in the hopes she'll listen to her mother. "I ask her to wait a little longer." (AP Photo/David Goldman)Dr. Liubov Rudska prepares to enter an operating room to assist in the delivery of a baby by C-section at Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. Russia and Moscow-backed separatists now occupy just over half the Donetsk region, which is similar in size to Sicily or Massachusetts. Pokrovsk is still in a Ukrainian government-controlled area 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the front lines. Inside the hospital's maternity wards, talk of the war is discouraged. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Dr. Ivan Tsyganok, chief physician at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital, washes his hands before performing a C-section, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. "If the hospital was relocated, the patients would still have to remain here," said Tsyganok, who continued carrying out deliveries even when the town was being hit by Russian rocket fire. "Delivering babies is not something that can be stopped or rescheduled," he said. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Inside the hospital’s maternity wards, talk of the war is discouraged.

“Everything that happens outside this building of course concerns us, but we don’t talk about it,” Myroshnychenko said. “Their main concern right now is the baby.”

Although fighting in the Dontesk region started back in 2014, when Russia-backed separatists began battling the government and taking over parts of the region, new mothers are only now being kept in the hospital for longer periods because there’s little opportunity for them to receive care once they have been discharged.

Among them is 23-year-old Inna Kyslychenko, from Pokrovsk. Rocking her 2-day-old daughter Yesenia, she was considering joining the region’s massive evacuation westward to safer areas in Ukraine when she leaves the hospital. Many essential services in government-held areas of the Donetsk region — heat, electricity, water supplies — have been damaged by Russian bombardment, leaving living conditions that are only expected to worsen as the winter grows near.

“I fear for the little lives, not only for ours, but for all the children, for all of Ukraine,” Kyslychenko said.

More than 12 million people in Ukraine have fled their homes due to the war, according to U.N. relief agencies. About half have been displaced within Ukraine and the rest have moved to other European countries.

Expecting mother Viktoria Shyshkova, 23, has her baby's heartbeat monitored at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Doctors insist that the hospital must remain open because the journey west to a maternity hospital outside the war zone remains too risky. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Expecting mother Viktoria Shyshkova, 23, looks out the window of her room while being monitored at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Although fighting in the region started back in 2014, new mothers are only now being kept in the hospital for longer periods because there is little opportunity to receive care once they are discharged. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Dr. Tetiana Myroshnychenko, a neonatologist at Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital, stands in a break room where she now lives at the Pokrovsk maternity hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Myroshnychenko is the site's only remaining neonatologist. Her 3-year-old son divides the week between staying at the clinic and with his father, a coal miner, at home. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Moving the maternity hospital out of Pokrovsk, however, is not an option.

“If the hospital was relocated, the patients would still have to remain here,” said chief physician Dr. Ivan Tsyganok, who kept working even when the town was being hit by Russian rocket fire.

“Delivering babies is not something that can be stopped or rescheduled,” he noted.

The nearest existing maternity facility is in Ukraine’s neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region, a 3 1/2 hour drive along secondary roads, a journey considered too risky for women in late-term pregnancy.

Last week, 24-year-old Andrii Dobrelia and his wife Maryna, 27, reached the hospital from a nearby village. Looking anxious, they talked little as doctors carried out a series of tests and then led Maryna to the operating room for a C-section. Tsyganok and his colleagues hurriedly changed their clothes and prepared for the procedure.

Veronika, a baby born prematurely at 29 weeks, is checked at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital, the only one under government control equipped to take care of premature babies, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. In Ukraine's war-torn eastern Donetsk region, the hospital under government control remains equipped to care for babies born prematurely in government-held areas. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Dr. Ivan Tsyganok, chief physician at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital, stands in his office after delivering a baby Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. As the war reaches the six-month mark, Tsyganok and his colleagues says they have another, more hopeful, reason to stay. “These children we are bringing into the world will be the future of Ukraine,” says Tsyganok.  “I think their lives will be different to ours. They will live outside war.” (AP Photo/David Goldman)An expecting mother waits outside a room to be seen by nurses for a check-up at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. The nearest existing maternity facility is in the neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region, a 3 1/2 hour drive along secondary roads, a journey considered too risky for women in late term pregnancy. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Twenty minutes later, the cries of a newborn baby boy, Timur, could be heard. After an examination, Timur was taken to meet his father in an adjoining room.

Almost afraid to breathe, Andrii Dobrelia tenderly kissed Timur’s head and whispered to him. As the newborn calmed down on his father’s chest, tears came to Andrii’s eyes.

As the war reaches the six-month mark, Tsyganok and his colleagues says they have a more hopeful reason to stay.

“These children we are bringing into the world will be the future of Ukraine,” says Tsyganok. “I think their lives will be different to ours. They will live outside war.”

Veronika, a baby born prematurely at 29 weeks, sleeps in a room fortified with sand bags in the windows at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. The nearest existing infant incubation facility is in the neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region, a 3 1/2 hour drive along secondary roads, a journey considered too risky for women in late-term pregnancy. (AP Photo/David Goldman)A blanket covers the incubator where Veronika, a baby born nearly two months prematurely, is cared for at the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital, in Pokrovsk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. When the air-raid sirens sound, the babies in the over-ground incubation ward cannot be disconnected from life-saving machines, explains Dr. Tetiana Myroshnychenko. "If I carry Veronika to the shelter, that would take five minutes. But for her, those five minutes could be critical," Myroshnychenko says. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Sandbags are piled against a window inside the Pokrovsk Perinatal Hospital in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Russia and Moscow-backed separatists now occupy just over half the Donetsk region, which is similar in size to Sicily or Massachusetts. Pokrovsk is still in a Ukrainian government-controlled area 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the front lines. Inside the hospital's maternity wards, talk of the war is discouraged. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: