Nafeza : Children's doctor died in deadly hospital attack protecting her patients

Nafeza : Children's doctor died in deadly hospital attack protecting her patients
Nafeza : Children's doctor died in deadly hospital attack protecting her patients

Wednesday 10 July 2024 02:46 AM

newsonline - The kidney doctor raced to the basement of a children's hospital in Kyiv to check up on some of her young patients who had been moved there for safety during an air raid siren.

Svitlana Lukyanchuk, 30, then risked her life to go back upstairs to a treatment centre where five more infants were hooked up to dialysis machines unable to be taken to the shelter.

Despite the danger, she stayed with them to make sure their life-saving procedures could continue even as the ground shook to the sound of Russian missiles striking the capital.

Suddenly, one of the munitions hit the hospital, shattering the windows of the dialysis centre and killing the paediatrician, who was thrown off her feet by the force of the blast.

She was one of two adults to die on Monday in the carnage at the Okhmatdyt children's hospital - Ukraine's main paediatrics facility.

Image: Svitlana Lukyanchuk was killed while treating child patients

More than 300 people were injured, including eight children, while large parts of the complex, including intensive care wards, operating rooms and a prenatal area, were damaged, according to medical staff.

Some of the wounded infants had been receiving dialysis under the care of Svitlana.

More from World

Valentyna Hrebeniuk, who worked with the kidney doctor, broke down in tears as she remembered her colleague.

Ukraine war latest: Follow live updates

Advertisement

Svitlana Lukyanchuk treats a child at the Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital
Image: Svitlana Lukyanchuk treats a child at the Okhmatdyt children's hospital

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video playerRescue operation underway in Ukraine after Russian missile strike 0:57

Rescue operation after Russian missile strike

"She was very experienced and people often sought her advice," said Valentyna, an educator in the chronic toxicology department at the hospital.

When the air raid alarm started, she had been tasked with looking after some of the children receiving kidney treatments, as well as their parents, in the shelter.

But they were even forced to evacuate from the basement when the missile struck.

"Immediately there was smoke, making it hard to breathe," Valentyna said.

"The air was filled with fumes from the shell, and it was difficult to determine where the children should go because they were screaming, and so were the parents."

Read more:
Ukrainian tennis star in tears over hospital strike
Analysis: Sudden escalation in attacks 'no coincidence'
Ukraine visit highlights tough decisions for new defence sec

Rescuers at the site of the hospital after the blast. Pic: AP
Image: Rescuers at the site of the hospital after the blast. Pic: AP

Valentyna said she realised the dialysis room had been hit.

"That's when I saw Svitlana in the window… the blast wave threw her against the windowsill."

After taking the children she was with to a different shelter, Valentyna returned to help those in the dialysis room.

Some had been injured by broken glass and the force of the explosion.

The Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital was partially damaged in the blast
Image: The Okhmatdyt children's hospital was partially damaged in the blast

Asked how the children - already battling life-threatening diseases - coped with the terror of the strike, she said: "It's hard to say because each child is different. One was silent, another was crying, the third wanted to be held, and the fourth was running somewhere.

"There were a lot of emotions. At first, they didn't understand what had happened.

"Once it became safer, they started crying, hugging each other, and helping each other.

"The children who were with me in the shelter were physically unharmed, without any blood.

"And the children who were in dialysis were injured. When the other children saw this, it was quite horrifying."

She had to try to hide her emotions and stay strong for those around her.

"It's terrifying. It's truly terrifying. You know you have to hold on, because the children were there, and their mothers were screaming."

Valentyna said she burst veins in her arms from the strain of carrying children and at times mothers away from the danger.

"By evening, you start to process where you were, what happened to you, how you acted, and what you did. It was extremely frightening.

"But the fear does not just come in that moment; it lingers for a long time, especially when you witness all these events for the first time. And when it happens in a hospital, the pain is immense. It's truly heartbreaking."

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV world : William and George cheer England at Euros final
NEXT world : Calvin Harris to headline final day of TRNSMT festival