Although Oleksandr Huch and Arten Zapototskyi did not know each other in their homeland of Ukraine, today they are roommates on the fifth floor of the Hadassah Medical Center’s Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower.
Thanks to the help of private donors and volunteers, the two men were airlifted to Israel to be treated for the gunshot wounds they sustained while taking part in the Kiev demonstrations. Mr. Huch, an athlete and teacher in a teen sports center, was helping a wounded friend when a bullet passed through his upper leg. Mr. Zapototskyi, a corporate lawyer and father of two, took a bullet in his lung and his spine. Medical teams in the nearby countries of Germany and Austria declined to take the two men. Said a coordinator from the Ukraine, “They all knew that Israel had more experience with gunshot wounds.”
Kiev’s medical team, struggling to cope with Mr. Huch’s open wound and complex fracture, had decided his left leg would need to be amputated when the possibility of bringing him to Israel was raised.
A facebook campaign, “Save Zapototskyi,” asked for ideas about what could be done for him. Sending him to Hadassah kept coming up as a suggestion. “I’m grateful to be here,” Mr. Zapototskyi says.
Mr. Zapototskyi had come to Kiev out of a compelling sense of civic duty. “I don’t want to talk about the politics of the demonstrations,” he said. “I want to concentrate on getting well.” Tears well up as he looks at the photos of his wife and small children.
Spine specialist Prof. Leonid Kaplan, whose first language is Russian, is caring for Mr. Zapototskyi. Having decided against surgery, he plans to send his patient to the physical therapy department at Hadassah-Mount Scopus. Senior Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Amal Khoury is treating Mr. Huch. “He has a complex condition because he came to us with a serious infection,” Dr. Khoury relates, “but I have no doubt that he will overcome it, recover fully, and regain his life and livelihood.”
For more information about the Ukrainians who were airlifted to Israel please go to http://www.jta.org/2014/03/25/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/visiting-kievs-wounded-in-Jerusalem