Fighting to survive: Ukraine's cancer patients' struggle to find care while fleeing
Lviv's regional cancer hospital has become a refuge for the nation's sick. The patient load has doubled as the displaced search for treatment away from Russia's bombardments in the country's center, east and south.
But even here, in the relative safety of this western city, supplies are running low. The hospital had about three weeks of reserves on site. Their stockpiles near and in the capital city of Kyiv are now inaccessible and the hospital is in urgent need of medical resupplies.
Doctors say they're treating patients who are dealing with a double trauma.
"Patients from the east and Kyiv region, they are exhausted emotionally from both war and from disease," said clinical oncologist Anna Honcharova. "It's much harder than in COVID times. And there are a lot of patients — much more than we usually have. They tell stories of bombings, how they were in shelters — lost homes. It's horrible."
Every day, they choose the duty of care over their own personal safety. When the war first began over three weeks ago, Dr. Orest Trill, the hospital's deputy director, made a decision.
"You cannot just stop in the middle of the operation when the air raid siren goes off," he says, "so we decided to continue operating — despite the war."
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