Donations of emergency medical supplies, equipment and medicines have been delivered to Ukrainian hospitals and the Ukrainian army. (Courtesy of Fotolia)
In April, New Braunfels-based Lonestar 24 Hour Emergency Room partnered with Dr. Austin Potter and a Poland-based nonprofit to deliver approximately 100 pounds of lifesaving medical equipment and supplies to Ukraine. .
Lonestar medical director Dr Gerardo Ortiz said ER donated intubation equipment, central line kits, clotting agent, antibiotics, gauze and more after hearing Potter speak during of a local conference.
“I understand that not every doctor or nurse or person can go out there and be on the front line, but definitely, you know, hospitals and stand-alone ERs, we’re really good at stockpiling our supplies,” Ortiz said. “We focused on trauma, the high casualty type of gear, and then we found what we had duplicates of and started with that.”
In March, Potter, who is an emergency physician in Austin, traveled to Poland to help provide medical care to refugees in Warsaw.
There he hooked up with a Polish nonprofit called Fundacja Od Granicy Do Meiszkania, or OGDM, which translates to “from the border to the apartment,” Potter said.
The organization works to help Ukrainian refugees find transportation from the Polish border, collect the necessary personal documents and secure short- or long-term accommodation.
“Instead of worrying about housing and transportation and food…they don’t have to worry about those essentials so much,” Potter said. “[OGDM] also connected volunteers and [gave] reliable in-country supply lines where we don’t have to worry about bribery or supply vendors.
The OGDM has worked to provide Ukrainian hospitals and the military with vital medical supplies that are difficult to obtain locally, Potter said.
Recent donations from Lonestar and Complete Care, which operate stand-alone emergency rooms across Texas, have helped OGDM provide supplies to children’s hospitals and the Ukrainian military.
“The goal is [for] every soldier in the field must have a medical kit which includes two tourniquets and rapid clotting agents along with other basic medical supplies,” Potter said. “These wear out extremely quickly, and basically there’s [at] this point an almost unlimited need for supplies.
After establishing OGDM as a nonprofit organization in the United States, the group will work to create a network of healthcare facilities and other partners to quickly respond to requests for supplies made by the Ukrainian army and hospitals, Potter said.
“There is always a constant flow of refugees; there is a constant need for medical supplies in the country, and unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s going to end [at] soon,” Potter said.
Ortiz said Lonestar plans to continue donating supplies to relief efforts in Ukraine, and his team is preparing to send another shipment of equipment to Potter and the OGDM team soon.
“It just seems like the right thing to do and how there can be downsides, I don’t see it,” Ortiz said. “I hope that, politics aside, people can realize what a humanitarian crisis this is.”