“You can feel the value of simple things when you lose them”

E.R. doctors share the feelings of their work during the pandemic

The risk of contamination is the highest for medical workers. Meanwhile medical workers show their responsibility and  courage and continue their mission to save health and lives of the citizens. On the station of emergency medical aid, where we meet our respondents, the work goes on without fuss. Everybody knows what to do and this mood of routine work effects a bit like sedative medicine. 

Natalia Derevenchuk, medical assistant of ambulance brigade

– Maybe this is a part of our professional adaptation, – Natalia Derevenchuk says. She is medical assistant of ambulance brigade. – This is like a switcher in the head. We act quickly and calm at work and are worried only when everything is over.

Natalia works as medical assistant for almost 20 years. Last 8 years she spent as a part of specialized ambulance brigade for children. There is only one for the whole Zaporizhzhia region. Together with colleagues she hurries to the most distant locations of the region to help kids.




“Space special forces” fight against the virus

– There are lots of different cases in our practice as it was earlier, – Natalia tells us – but people are more nervous about pandemia. Ordinary cases of seasonal flue cause real panic. We feel protected at work as we have enough of costumes, gloves, masks, respirators and antiseptic remedies.   So when we are supposed to drive to the patient with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, we put on our protective clothes.  Children like how we look – as space special forces. We can play jokes because of that just to help them feel calm. We transported adults and children with COVID. All the children are ok now. 

Victor Kapustian, doctor anesthesiologist of special emergency drigade

It is very hot within protection suit and you always lack air. The movemens are awkward and the sight is limited. Still all these inconveniences Victor Kapustian, doctor anesthesiologist of special emergency drigade take as they are: “We have to work”. On his ordinary glasses under the seond pair of the protection ones the air condensates quickly.

– We have two kinds of costumes: one for especially dangerous viruses which consists of several layers, and second – individual overall which you can put in a minute.  now doctors become mor responsible and take care of themselves and of patients, use the means of individual protection.  People are getting ill and we observe the trend of increasing COVID cases, – Victor tells.

Sweet home of superheroes

– I am working person and the risks are high, so I want my family to be safe. – Natalia tells. – At home there is an antiseptic at the doorway. I disifect my hands and door handles at once  when I enter. I have separate bag for my clothes and I wash it separately. I even have my separate plate and cup now.

A father and three daughters are waiting for her at home. The eldest – Alyona is seventeen, twins Nastia and Natasha are almost 16. They study at home while mother is at work. The eldest is preparing for final test at school and entering University.

– They are my main support. When I come back in the evening, they already cooked the dinner. They help me with computer… All of us is nervous, but my father worries more than rest of us so we try to calm him down together. I have more work now, I only drop at home for a while, but my cat still recognises me – Natalia tries to joke.

Wife and 12 years daughter wait for Victor Kapustian at home. They treat his duties of the doctor with understanding and do not ask for additional explanation.

– Father goes to work because father is the doctor. My mother and brother live far from us and we can talk only by phone. We dream of meeting in person when everything is over. It is hard to say when it happens, but we are fighting and, I believe, we will win.

Natalia sighs:

– I’m tired of being afraid and stressed. I want so much to take a walk in the park, to go where I need freely, to go to the cinema, to take daughters somewhere…You can feel the value of simple things when you lose them.

Shared victory

Despite numerous challenges, which medical workers face now, there are several pleasant things in their work now. The main among them is how attitude of citizens towards professionals has changed.

– The work of the doctor is treated with bigger respect. This is a great psychological support, says Victor. Still not all the people are ready to give needed information to the workers. – I ask all citizens when you call emergency service, please, describe sincerely your state – if you have fever, if you came back from abroad, if you contacted an infected person. That will make our work easier and we will be able to help you. 

The medical workers are especially grateful to their colleagues and volunteers. They are great supporters and provide doctors with means of individual protection, help to get to their working places. Natalia Derevenchuk says that it was really difficult to get to the work during first days of the quarantine:

– The public transport did not work and special buses for doctors were rare. Colleages who have cars and volunteers saved the situation ad we were able to be in time at work and get to our patients. So many thanks to the drivers and volunteers of Viber and Telegram group “They save lives”. There are more than 2 thousand participants. They take us home and to the work to the doorways.

Medical workers emphasize: introducing the quarantine and reasonable attitude of the people, who accepted the limitations, Ukraine succeeded in restraining the virus spreading. this is a shared and first victory on the way to overcome this disease. Still it’s too early to relax. The threat has been lowered down but it  has not disappeared.

Zaporizhzhia is joining worldwide flash mob of gratitude to the medical workers with applause!

On the 16th of May at 11 a.m. let’s go out at our yards, balconies, open our windows and during 3 minutes thank with applause those whose brave actions help to overcome COVID-19 pandemia and every day support us, citizens of Zaporizhzhia!Share the information, take part in flash mob and support each other!

The publication is created in frame of the project “Heroes of our days”, which is implemented by Charity Foundation “Child’s Smile” under the support of USAID.

This series of publications is devoted to the people whose duty is to help others. We express our gratitude and support to the specialists whom we may not know in person but whose help we count on in difficult moments of our lives.