Franciscan Health gathers medical supplies to help Ukraine

Prayers for peace and almost 100,000 pounds of medical supplies for the injured will soon be on their way to the people of Ukraine, the product of a massive mobilization across Franciscan Health hospitals and clinics, working with the Illinois Division of the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA).

The effort began a week ago at Franciscan Health Dyer, where obstetrician/gynecologist Roman Puliaev, MD, sought to gather surgical equipment that had been in a room with a steam pipe leak. While the material could no longer be used at the hospital, it could still be useful in a warzone like Ukraine. He connected with UMANA, which was organizing a charter flight to take supplies to Poland for transportation over the border into Ukraine.

Dr. Puliaev, who graduated from Crimea Medical University and came to the U.S. in 2002, called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an indescribable tragedy. “We never thought this kind of scale of war would happen after World War II,” he said while sorting and boxing supplies with volunteers and other staff at the Dyer hospital.

After hearing about the gathering of supplies for UMANA, Franciscan Health Crown Point Vice President of Medical Affairs Erik Mikaitis, MD, sought to expand it into a system-wide effort, putting the call out to divisions in central and western Indiana and south suburban Chicago to collect equipment and material that was excess or near expiration.

In just 48 hours, Franciscan’s supply chain team was able to fill three semi-trucks with supplies and equipment now bound for Ukraine. The shipment includes gloves, gauze and bandages, syringes, sterile irrigation fluid and even surgical equipment.

Franciscan Health is working with the Illinois Division of the Ukrainian Medical Association of North American (UMANA) to fly supplies to Warsaw. From there, supplies will be taken to Ukraine’s hospitals, field hospitals and frontlines. (Submitted photo)

UMANA is chartering a plane to take the supplies to Warsaw. From there, the supplies will be loaded onto trucks and will be taken to Ukraine’s hospitals, field hospitals and frontlines.

Tucked in with the supplies will be prayer cards provided by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, Franciscan staff and students at St. Matthew’s Cathedral School in South Bend, Ind.

At Franciscan Health Olympia Fields Illinois, the Rev. Ted Ostrowski, chaplain, carried out Franciscan Health’s enduring tradition of prayer and blessing as he prayed “for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are experiencing the terrible blight of war with the catastrophe of losing their lives, homes, jobs, security and safety.”

Dr. Ana Priscu, an endocrinologist for Franciscan Physician Network in Indianapolis who is a native of Romania, said, “Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people. We praise and stand united with Poland, Germany, Romania, Moldova and all the other NATO nations providing relief to the millions of desperate refugees streaming out of their war-torn country. From all of us at Franciscan Health, our prayers are with all of them.”

“Once again, we are so proud to see the overwhelming support from Franciscan Alliance extending our mission internationally in an unexpected crisis such as this. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people, it is unimaginable what is happening there right now. We need to put our trust in God, faith gives us hope,” said Elena Mitu, administrative director of Environmental Services, Franciscan Health Indianapolis, who is from the Romania and Moldova region. “We pray for this to end soon, as both countries are victims of this war.”

Franciscan Health operates several hospitals throughout Indiana and South Suburban Chicago.