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Arizona healthcare workers describe Ukrainian medical clinic as ‘overwhelming’

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona nurse practitioners describe their shifts at a refugee clinic in Warsaw, Poland, as “overwhelming” and “intense.”

Doctors Mary Ellen Quinn and Ken Wysocki spend a week away from work and live in Arizona to volunteer with Ukrainian refugees. After their first shift at the clinic, our Arizona’s Family team met them in Poland. “The youngest was 11 days old. The oldest is 88 years old. We see the specter coming our way,” Quinn said.

She decided to make the trip to Poland after seeing horrifying images from Ukraine and hearing millions of refugees crossing the border. “There was no need to think about it. It was time to go,” Quinn said.

Their first shift was to treat coughs and colds, as well as illnesses and injuries picked up along the way, often made worse by stress.

While Quinn was working on another humanitarian mission in Haiti, helping after a devastating earthquake, she says the experience in Poland was different. “You see the effects of war. I think the emotional toll from day one is more than expected. You have to be there in the moment to understand that their lives are torn apart. They don’t know where they’re going next, and you see the effects of war on innocent people,” Quinn said.

For Wysocki, this is his first aid mission. “It’s impressive. When we deal with thousands in one center, and this is one of many centers. It’s incomprehensible what happens,” he said.

Wysocki’s grandparents grew up in a town near the Ukrainian border, so he felt compelled to come and help the Polish people deal with the crisis. Both hope to encourage other medical professionals to take the trip organized by International Medical Relief. “We need the power of men and women here to hold hands and help,” he said.

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