June 22 in Kyiv and then on the road to Uzhhorod
The day in Kyiv was started with meeting friends Paul and Vika Thorson and their 2 yo son Toviah. It was great to see them again, and to enjoy fellowship and update on their lives in Ukraine. Among the things they have done is worked with their church to support people in troubled areas by the Russian-backed and Russian-participated war in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
Then I was happy to have Dr. Vitaliy Demyanchuk stop in on me at Bratislava Hotel to greet me with kind gifts, and to discuss the Heart Emergency Hospital at which he works…as a heart surgeon. We have known each other since his days as a heart surgery Resident at Amosov. In 2004 he visited me and Vanderbilt Heart Program with his wife Olga who is a perfusionist, and the Deputy Director of Amosov Heart Clinic, Dr. Vitaliy Maximenko. Vitaliy brought me up to date on his family, including his daughter Polly who is studying in the United States in Madison, Wisconsin.
As well, we discussed the possible renewal of the St. Jude Heart valve company in St. Paul, MN humanitarian donation of heart valves to his Hospital. St. Jude is likely the best valve manufacturer in the world, and they previously have donated valves for patients with no funds to acquire such.
Another meeting that will have legs was with Tatiana Tymoshenko, new with the Ministry of Health who oversees much of Emergency Medical Care for the nation. I hope and expect that this colleague, who is new to me, will be another fellow collaborator for progress. She is young and energetic.
Next it was onto an overnight train to Uzhhorod from Kyiv….which was a long ride, thought the west of Ukraine, through some of the Karpatian mountains into a beautiful small city at the extreme western edge of Ukraine, on the Slovakian border.
At this site, Dan would be speaking to the EMS and Disaster Medicine leaders of western Ukraine, while on a separate track, I was to speak to the emergency prehospital clinicians.