The history of Kharkiv Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital No. 1 is a story of heroism and dedication in the face of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, at five o’clock in the morning, hospital employees living near the state border (in the Kharkiv, Zolochiv, and Derhachi districts) called to say that they could no longer come to work. Russian military equipment and soldiers were advancing past their residences, and gunfire could be heard loudly.

By 7 am that same day, two Ukrainian military personnel arrived at the reception department of Kharkiv Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital No. 1 seeking medical assistance. A few hours later, 15-year-old Oleksandr was rushed in critical condition from a shelled settlement with a shrapnel wound in his chest, causing damage to both lung lobes. A team of pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating nurses, and anesthetists performed an extremely complex lung operation, removing a deadly metal fragment.

The hospital began to discharge patients, preparing for mass hospitalization. Workers quickly took maximum possible measures, such as putting red crosses on the roofs of the hospital buildings, adapting hospital basements for shelter, and stocking up on water, food, and fuel for generators. They also implemented a new shift mode of work and allowed family members, children, and pets of medical workers to stay together in the hospital.

On February 25, 2022, the hospital was hit by Russian shells, breaking windows in the main building, polyclinic, chest, maternity, and transitions between buildings. An employee of the oxygen station was wounded, and the entire hospital compound was covered in numerous traces of Russian hits. The hospital experienced a complete blackout, lack of communication, and the blocking of windows and doors with improvised materials. However, caring people and friends of the hospital brought food, water, hygiene products, and medicines, while the doctors shared and helped other institutions as much as they could.

Despite the damage and danger, the medical staff of Hospital No. 1 resolutely, courageously, and professionally performed their duties throughout the year of the war. Kharkiv Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital No. 1, located about 40 km from the border, suffered massive damage on February 25, March 1, April 7, and August 23, 2022. Nonetheless, specialists of the hospital saved 90 wounded children, which accounts for about 10% of all wounded children in Ukraine during the conflict.

Source: Kharkiv Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital 1