Medical mission team from Toledo area returns from Ukraine

Medical mission team from Toledo area returns from Ukraine
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 8:14 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2022 at 8:25 PM EDT
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MAUMEE, Ohio (WTVG) - A local medical mission team has returned home after treating hundreds of patients in Ukraine.

While the team encountered plenty of physical issues, the mental strain of the war was the most prevalent challenge.

For Maumee Doctor Richard Paat it’ll be hard to forget that Ukraine trip and the people he and the team met.

Dr. Paat said one can anticipate physical damage during a war, however, he wasn’t prepared to experience such devastation.

“We weren’t prepared for the sad stories because everybody had a story about how they had to live under those kinds of conditions,” said Dr. Paat.

Doctor Paat and the Special Commission on Relief and Education team spent almost two weeks on the ground, 15 miles into Ukraine near the Hungarian border. A team of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists treating about 700 patients for things like hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer but also mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and survivor’s guilt.

“They still had hope. They’re very strong people living for their children,” said Dr. Paat.

Hope can be difficult even after they receive medical treatment. The plan for some is to go back home after living in shelters and on mattresses for weeks, perhaps even a month. More and more it’s sinking in that going home isn’t possible.

“Some try to go back to their area but it might be too close to the fighting, so it’s dangerous and they come back. Others try to go back to the central part of Ukraine and there’s nothing left,” said Dr. Paat.

This team is used to disaster areas and people fleeing their homes without medication or a plan. This is different, in this war, things are fluid and full of unknowns. Unlike a natural disaster, you know when the storm will end and when you can proceed with rebuilding.

“There you can see some sort of end the disaster is done. Hopefully, the government will help them, other people will help them. They’ll go back and rebuild. They don’t know what the situation is going to be, what’s going to happen,” said Dr. Paat.

In addition to all that you add in the stress of really not knowing what happened to your fathers, sons, and brothers who had to join the fighting forces, and continue to defend their country.

Doctor Paat said another trip is possible later this year.

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