Professor Elena Balukhtina volunteers with a civilian mobile health group that travels to Ukrainian communities, treating those injured by the ongoing Russian attacks. (Image Shutterstock)
BY Andrea Lawson
April 14, 2022
As the war in Ukraine rages on, people around the world have stepped up to find ways to help civilians who have been at the mercy of the violence.
Elena Bulakhtina, assistant professor of pathology and molecular medicine, puts her medical skills to good use in Ukraine, volunteering with a civilian health group called Pirogue First Volunteer Mobile Hospital.
“The medicine here doesn’t follow the guidelines,” she said in an interview with CTV News.
“Everything is improvised with the supplies available at the moment.”
Bulakhtina and is one of around 50 volunteers working in 11 ambulances. They traveled to affected communities, treating those injured by explosives and shrapnel.
“The old people, they’ve suffered a lot,” she said, “They cry and say, ‘Why am I still alive?'”
Bulakhtina was born in Russia and worked as an intensive care doctor in Moscow. She has been in Hamilton for about a decade and still has family and friends in Russia.
“Ironically, my mother doesn’t believe there is war in (Ukraine),” she said. “When I call her and tell her, Mom, would you like to hear the stories…the atrocities…(that) I see myself? But she doesn’t believe me.
Despite her Russian heritage, Bulakhtina said everyone she met and dealt with was kind.
“I have never seen so much unity, so much mutual support,” Boulakhtina said. “That’s why I came here.”
Bulakhtina plans to continue volunteering next month.