Retired Florida physician travels to Ukraine to assist infants and newborns impacted by Russia’s invasion

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A Florida physician who was spending his retirement years educating and volunteering not too long ago returned to work after seeing the devastation attributable to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As a substitute of returning to his non-public follow in Sarasota, Florida, nonetheless, Dr. Paul Runge flew hundreds of miles to assist Ukrainian newborns and infants.

“I wasn’t prepared to simply sit round and do nothing for the remaining a part of my life,” he advised the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, throughout a telephone interview whereas he was in Ivano-Frankivsk, a Western Ukrainian metropolis. “I used to be sitting at residence like everyone else, watching [the war] unfold and simply questioning what I might do.”

IVANO-FRANKIVSK, UKRAINE – FEBRUARY 23, 2021 – A contactless thermometer on the Regional Medical Hospital of the Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Council that treats individuals with COVID-19, Ivano-Frankivsk, western Ukraine. 
(Yurii Rylchuk/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing through Getty Pictures)

Runge then reached out to some contacts in Western Ukraine and left for the war-torn nation on July 4. Throughout a 10-day go to, the retired ophthalmologist helped docs all through Ukraine.

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Runge began his journey 80 miles north of Lviv, earlier than he joined a youngsters’s hospital neonatal intensive care unit in Ivano-Frankivsk. He additionally helped a neighboring navy hospital.

“I used to be actually excited after I realized that, No. 1, they needed me, and No. 2, I might actually be of assist,” Runge stated. “I don’t wish to be like a bull in a China store and inform everyone ‘hey, you gotta do it this fashion, that’s the way in which we do it.’ however I’ve actually loved being right here.”

“(The docs) are very enthusiastic. They’re not pushed by cash,” he added. “They’re desirous to do nearly as good of a job as they presumably can for his or her sufferers. It’s such a singular and refreshing expertise.”

The July go to was merely the start for Runge, who flew again to Ukraine on Sept. 10.

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The board-certified ophthalmologist says he intends to spend the remainder of the month in Ivano-Frankivsk, serving to the place he can and making a distinction regardless of the continuing conflict efforts.

“This morning we had been woke up by air raid sirens, and after I arrived on the hospital, all of the sufferers and employees had been within the basement bomb shelter,” Runge stated in an announcement. “Nothing uncommon transpired, and we had been again to work in lower than an hour.”

SIVERSK, DONETSK PROVINCE, UKRAINE, JULY 08: Ukrainian serviceman ride on top of a tank towards the battlefield nearby Siversk, Ukraine, July 08th, 2022. 

SIVERSK, DONETSK PROVINCE, UKRAINE, JULY 08: Ukrainian serviceman journey on prime of a tank in the direction of the battlefield close by Siversk, Ukraine, July 08th, 2022. 
(Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Company through Getty Pictures)

The battle for survival is obvious all through Ukraine and speaks to their dedication to fend off their bigger adversary.

“(Ukrainians) have a standard trigger. All they speak about is how the nation has pulled collectively to defeat these tyrants. They’re not pondering that they’re something however profitable this conflict,” he stated.

As for with the ability to assist, Runge stays grateful: “I’ve to pinch myself to verify I’m not dreaming.”

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Russia first invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, in what many specialists believed could be a swift victory. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have efficiently defended their capital metropolis of Kyiv, they’ve made progress in pushing Russian invaders again to their japanese border.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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