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Austrumu slimnīca devīto reizi uzņem Ukrainas karavīrus

Another group of Ukrainian soldiers treated in Rīga

On Thursday, December 21, Ukrainian soldiers were brought to Riga Eastern Clinical University hospital (RAKUS) for the ninth time. A group of 13 injured have arrived this time, but their total has reached 200 during the year and a half since the project has been in operation, Latvian Radio reported.

A two-storey passenger bus with Ukrainian numberplates pulls up to RAKUS. The bus is adapted to carry patients, but a line of beds, stretchers, and wheelchairs have already been prepared at the hospital; several doctors and support staff are ready to welcome the new patients.

Sasha, one of the drivers, said: "The road was good. Wet but no frost. Normal, we're used to it. We drive for four hours, we rest for four hours. We'll stay here and… No, we'll take people to Jūrmala now, we'll stay there, we'll pick up those who've already recovered, and we'll take them home."

Ukrainian doctor Olga Rezaka said: “The drive was very long in terms of time, so it was a bit difficult, but the guys are physically strong, it's all good. They have different injuries - there are both amputations and injuries from shards, brain injuries, but now they're in good condition, so they endured the ride.”

Among the patients admitted is a woman from Mariupol, who had been a prisoner of the Russian military for a year. The rest are young men with different injuries.

The injured do not end up in Latvia straight from the front. They have been treated, or stabilized, at clinics in Ukraine, but come here for additional examinations, in-depth treatment, or rehabilitation, Aleksejs Višņakovs, head of the RAKUS urgent medicine and patient admissions clinic, told Latvian Radio.

How long treatment will have to be done cannot be said beforehand. For example, soldier Andriy, badly wounded in fighting in eastern Ukraine, has been here for months:

“I was risking left arm amputation. Bones had been smashed, tissue had been shredded. The injuries healed, but internally all the damage stayed because we now have a huge flow of seriously injured and just injured people in the country, so the medical system just doesn't cope. As a result, your country's help is not only needed - it's a lifeline for a lot of ordinary guys like me.”

200 Ukrainian soldiers have been brought to Latvia for treatment or rehabilitation since August last year. Health care expenses are paid for by the State, but everything else – transport, document examination, and preparation – is organized by the authors of the project Arvis Rekets and Mārtiņš Mednieks. They said the process had become smoother in the meantime, with preparations shortened from three months to one, allowing more and more soldiers to be brought to Latvia.

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