As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to take the lives of innocent civilians, a Queens hospital is doing what it can to provide any available resources to help healthcare workers on the ground.
Mount Sinai Queens in Astoria put together various medical equipment and supplies worth an estimated $300,000 to give to Ukraine. The equipment consisted of EKG machines, three ventilators and over 30 boxes of respiratory supplies.
The equipment will be sent to medical clinics on the border of Ukraine and Poland. Doctors at Mount Sinai have also made themselves available to teach Ukrainians over the phone if they need help understanding how to utilize the resources.
Anatoly Veksler, the director of respiratory therapy at Mount Sinai Queens, said that he got involved since this issue is personal to him.
“I, of course, volunteered, as I am Ukrainian myself,” Veksler said. “I thought this was a great cause and a great way to help the people of Ukraine. Nobody has reached out yet, but if they do, I speak Russian and can be available to help.”
Though Veksler said he does not have any family in Ukraine at the moment, the violence shown against his people has greatly affected him.
“This has impacted my friends, my coworkers who are also Ukrainian. It really has touched our inner soul,” Veksler said. “I’m really just appalled by what’s going on. Ukraine is a beautiful country.”
Veksler even had a trip planned to visit Ukraine this summer, which he said was obviously canceled.
“My wife is from Moldova and has family there,” Veksler said. “We’re very worried about the family and that Russia’s occupation of Ukraine will leap over to Moldova as well. It really has touched us very hard.”
Russia invaded Ukraine in February, resulting in obscene violence and alleged war crimes committed over the last couple of months. Veksler said that the ventilators they donated can be used for life support, particularly for injuries related to the lungs.
“If the equipment is set up correctly, it can provide a life support measure for both an adult or pediatric in the event a person is no longer breathing or lungs have been damaged in some sort of way,” Veksler said.
Jonathan Nover, senior director of nursing and emergency department and critical care services, said that all the equipment was able to be donated after Mount Sinai Queens received new machinery through various grants.
“We received a lot of machinery through the height of the pandemic,” Nover said. “We were able to take a portion of our backup supplies to donate and help serve the mission of those hospitals during this crisis.”
Nover also mentioned that this huge donation was pushed into action by the frontline workers at Mount Sinai Queens, where many on the clinical team often feel a need to get involved and give back.
“This good deed is a representation of the entire hospital,” Nover said.
Recently, a cardiologist from Mount Sinai Queens traveled over to help Ukrainian refugees herself. Dr. Preethi Pirlamarla volunteered near the Ukrainian-Poland border, providing emergency care for those in need.