Invasion in Ukraine: “My son needs me so I will be with him”: Sick children to flee the Russian bombs | News from around the world – News 24

Clinging to his mother in the basement of Kiev’s main children’s hospital, the four-year-old boy gritted his teeth making a scratching noise.

Nikita Synytsky, who suffers from leukemia and Down syndrome, started making noise when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine last week, causing him even more trauma.

“We are very nervous,” said Tatiana Pakhaliuk, his mother looking tired, hugging him.

“My son – you see the voice [sound] of teeth, he grows teeth,” she said.

Nikita, along with a group of other critically ill hospitalized infants, rely on life-saving treatment at the hospital.

He cannot stop even when Russian missiles and bombs have started falling.

Instead, each child, usually accompanied by a parent, had to be moved to the basement of the multi-story building, where they are better protected from airstrikes and gunfire.

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But it’s not just the seriously ill that this hospital is trying to help.

Doctors set up an emergency service in the first 24 hours of the war to treat children – and adults – in the city injured in the fighting.

Dr Andrey Vysotskyi, 34, head of the emergency unit, has barely slept since the war began five days ago.

It was “the quiet place with just kids, with operations scheduled,” he said, pointing to what has become a busy triage area where patients are initially assessed.

“Now, in an instant, that changes. So, okay, this is war. We are screwed up. »

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So far, three children have been brought to the facility, all with gunshot wounds. They all appeared separately overnight from Friday to Saturday.

One of the infants, a ten-year-old boy, died en route.

“They were in the ambulance and the ambulance also came under fire,” the doctor said.

A 14-year-old boy was injured in the face, back and legs.

He was on the operating table for further surgery on Monday, but was described as stable.

The third victim was a girl who was shot in the finger.

She is fine. “Surgeons removed a bullet from his finger and performed reconstructive surgery,” the doctor said.

He continued: “Two days ago we had shootings all around the block, with artillery fights, etc., but tonight was a bit quiet. And war changes the priority, so now if you can take a shower and have a coffee, that’s luxury [smiles at camera]. »

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For Nikita, when it’s time for treatment or an assessment, her mother has to climb several flights of stairs to the ward where they usually stay.

When asked how she felt, she replied: “Hands are shaking, legs are like in fitness because… 10,000 steps a day – up and down, with kids with bags. »

She looked exhausted.

Nikita needs chemotherapy and blood transfusions, but with a war on blood there is a shortage.

“As parents, we try to donate our blood and change parents and donate blood for our children,” his mother said, highlighting the desperate situation they find themselves in.

She wishes she could take him across the border to the safety of Poland, but such a journey – difficult for any family with the country until the attack – is even more difficult for children like Nikita who need constant care.

“Our children cannot live without a hospital, without medical treatment,” Ms Pakhaliuk said.

“If we go to another country, we should cross the border with a doctor… [and] the police or someone else to cross quickly and safely.

“Our children cannot stop and stay in a traffic jam because it is very dangerous for their lives. »

She seems resigned to staying in the hospital basement but is also worried about her two other children – her daughters, aged 14 and 6.

They are with the father, sheltered in the parking lot of the family residence. He cannot drive them across the border to neighboring Poland because he has no petrol in his car. The mother therefore contacted strangers on social networks to ask for help.

A family in Poland responded and offered to let the girls live with them.

“I don’t know these people but I’m very grateful to them,” the mother said.

“I’m scared to give my children to people I don’t know but I think it’s the best thing for me as a mother because my daughters should be alive… My son needs me so I’ll be with him. »

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Invasion in Ukraine: “My son needs me so I will be with him”: Sick children to flee the Russian bombs | News from around the world – News 24