Two doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital with personal ties to Ukraine recently recorded a video intended to help teach Ukrainians how to respond to traumatic injuries, as the Russian military continues its bloody invasion of the neighboring nation.
Dr. Nelya Melnitchouk, who grew up in Ukraine, came up with the idea for the video, and Dr. Eric Goralnick, who is of Ukrainian descent, helped organize the collaboration between Brigham and Women’s and the Stop the Bleed initiative, which teaches people who have little or no medical training how to prevent traumatic blood loss.
“This is something I can do here to help. I wish I could do more to be able to help Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, but at least we can do that,” Melnitchouk, a surgeon who is working with colleagues in Ukraine on research intended to improved cancer treatment there, said in an interview last week.
“Even if we save one life, it will be worth it,” she said.
The video, recorded Thursday afternoon and posted online Friday, includes Ukrainian-language narration by Melnitchouk and on-camera demonstrations by Goralnick, who uses a mannequin to demonstrate how to apply pressure on a wound, pack material into the opening, and apply a tourniquet to stanch the bleeding.
“The idea is to get this out to as many people as possible, to empower them and help them save lives,” said Goralnick, an emergency medicine specialist.
The methods he demonstrated are derived from the Stop the Bleed initiative, which was built upon medical advancements made by the US military that have reduced battlefield deaths beginning with the US intervention in Somalia in the 1990s, he said. The Brigham’s work with the initiative is funded by the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation.
Goralnick said he and his colleagues are also working to get more educational materials and medical supplies to Ukrainian people.
“Everybody that we’ve reached out to has been incredibly generous and helpful to support these efforts,” he said.
Melnitchouk said her family, friends, and colleagues in Ukraine were unharmed by the violent conflict so far, but “some [are] safer than others.”
“Some of my colleagues in Kyiv who are working at the National Cancer Institute in Ukraine — before this disaster they were treating cancer patients. Now they’re trying to treat cancer patients as the rockets and bombs are [exploding] nearby,” she said. “Some of them haven’t left the hospital for four or five days.”
Goralnick said his Ukrainian ancestry gives him a personal stake in the Russian invasion of that country, but his feelings of solidarity are shared by many others.
“We’re all Ukrainians now,” he said. “This is an important time to stand with Ukraine and help them.”