Wednesday, February 23, 2022. A day before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 11-year-old Ivan Savko undergoes head surgery at a hospital in Kiev. The Russian invasion and the constant bombardment of the Russians against the capital, force the hospital staff to transport all the children and mothers who accompanied them to the basement of the hospital.
Video and images from the hospital basement punch in the stomach. Children lying on something resembling a bed, with fear and anxiety etched in their eyes. The 11-year-old, instead of being treated in the Intensive Care Unit, is lying on a bed in the basement, after many hours of surgery, with his mother and hospital staff looking for a way to help him, without any possibility for mechanical support./p>
A contact in Cyprus
Somewhere there, in the darkness and pain of war, a crevice of hope opens through Cyprus. A relative of the boy, who lives in our country, contacted the dean of the Medical School of the University of Nicosia, Dr. Andreas Charalambous: “Please, we must find a way to get the child out of Kyiv, otherwise he will not succeed.”
The dean contacted the Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection of Greece, Christos Stylianidis, with whom they collaborate as professors at the Medical School. In a short time, an entire rescue operation was set up for little Ivan Savko, with great success under the circumstances. At the moment, the young Ivan is in a hospital in Warsaw, where he is being treated at the expense of the Polish government, thanks to the intervention of Stylianidis. “P” contacted Mr. Stylianidis, who characteristically stated that all the credit belongs to his team in the ministry and not to him, as they were the ones who worked day and night to set up this whole operation to transport the child from Kyiv to Warsaw. “For my part, as a former EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, I happened to know the right people who could help. Congratulations, however, belong to my team at the Ministry of Civil Protection in Athens, because they did not sleep for two days, until they completed the mission “.
By a taxi
It took two days for a solution to be found so that the child could leave Kyiv safely and cross the border. With the connections of the former European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management playing an important role: After a series of phone calls, with the Red Cross, with voluntary organizations, Polish government officials, but also with officials in the Commission, the business trip began. salvation of the 11-year-old. Due to the circumstances, if the child was not transported to Poland, he would hardly be able to survive, Dr. Charalambous told “P”. According to him, from the first moment, the Polish government and the country's Minister of Health were positive in providing any assistance to the 11-year-old. The problem with the whole effort was the fact that, due to the invasion and the ongoing beatings that Kyiv was receiving and continues to receive, it was not possible to transport the boy by airambulance from the beginning, so other means had to be used. The child had to stay in the basement of the hospital, without machinery, medicine and with minimal food, for two days. Then, according to Dr. Charalambous, a means of transportation was found to take him out of the bombed Kyiv, with which they reached western Ukraine, specifically the city of Lviv. It was a 14-hour taxi ride, as it was not possible to transport the child by ambulance, with little Ivan having only his mother by his side. The father is away from his child anyway, as he is in a conscription battalion in western Ukraine. The taxi left a mother and son at a hospital in Lviv, where they were picked up a few hours later by a Polish government helicopter with doctors and nurses, who took care of transporting them safely to a hospital in Warsaw. The 11-year-old boy arrived at the pediatric hospital “Instytut – Pomnik Centrum Zdrowia Dziecka” early Wednesday morning. A competent source told “P” that Ivan is not the only child who was transported to the hospital in question, there are dozens of cases of child victims of the war, who are struggling to survive under adverse conditions.
The “thank you”
Thanks to the excellent care provided to Ivan by the hospital staff, little Ivan's journey had a happy ending, with Dr. Charalambous stating that the child's health condition is very good. Within the next few days, the 11-year-old will start physiotherapy and then enter a cycle of chemotherapy, as, according to Dr. Charalambous, the treatment of the little one did not stop with the removal of the tumor. All medical expenses will be covered by the Polish Ministry of Health, with the child's relatives expressing their warm thanks to the Polish Ministry of Health and at the same time their immense gratitude to Mr. Stylianidis. “P” tried to contact the mother of the 11-year-old, however, due to the difficult circumstances but also because the mother does not speak English at all, it was not possible. However, a relative of the family living in Cyprus told “P” that “the only reason why they would like to make public the story of little Ivan is to set an example for others of the humanity and greatness of the Minister of Civil Protection. Of Greece Mr. Christos Stylianidis “.