After a nearly 5,000-mile trek overseas, a decommissioned ambulance filled with life-saving medical supplies has arrived in Irpin, Ukraine.
The ambulance was decommissioned at Hartford HealthCare, but it will be used as a working ambulance in the war-torn country. All of the people that made it happen got on a virtual call Thursday to celebrate its safe arrival and its mission to help save lives.
"I am so happy, I am so proud to know you, I wanna thank, many thanks to American citizens who support us," Igor, a Ukrainian volunteer said.
Hartford HealthCare and Hunter’s Ambulance filled the ambulance with medical supplies following countless bombings and shellings that affected the central hospital’s ambulance fleet and desperately-needed supplies.
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Ukranian representatives say at one point, Irpin had more than 100 ambulances—they are now down to less than a dozen.
Back in June, Hartford HealthCare Neurosurgeon Joseph Aferzon requested the ambulance be sent to the country.
"We are all struck by how resilient the people of Ukraine are and we recognize the hard work that doctors on the ground have to do, it's also clear that they have limited resources their system is obviously not as robust as our American system," Aferzon said.
Inside this ambulance, 12 EMS agencies from Connecticut donated $30,000 worth of the same equipment they use daily on the front lines. Included in the full list of items are thousands of masks, hundreds of gowns, dozens of splint bags and countless needles and syringes.
EMS Senior System Director Kevin Ferrarotti said the delivery is far more than what the central hospital currently has.
“We realized that these are lifesaving pieces of equipment that they just don’t have enough of right now and they need much, much more," Ferrarotti said.
Emergency personnel said they're preparing to send over a second delivery of equipment needed to save lives. That will arrive in the next few months.