After a year of war - Karolinska University Hospital is the hospital in Sweden that has received the most patients from Ukraine
When Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Karolinska University Hospital immediately prepared to receive the injured and sick from the war zone. A reception organisation was set up at the hospital and contacts were made with the relevant authorities. Karolinska's aircraft and so-called medevac teams, which can provide intensive care during transport, were placed at the disposal of the Swedish Civil Protection Agency. This ensured safe transport to Sweden. Over the past year, Karolinska's intensive care transport organisation has brought patients not only to Karolinska but also to other Swedish hospitals.
- At Karolinska, we quickly realised that we needed to contribute to the care and transport of both the injured and the sick from Ukraine. The commitment of our employees is great and I know that many want us to do even more. We are constantly working to receive as many patients as possible from the war zone, and we will continue to do so," says Björn Zoëga, CEO of Karolinska University Hospital.
The first patients, two cancer patients, arrived at Karolinska in Huddinge on 29 March. Shortly afterwards, Karolinska also received trauma patients from Ukraine who had been injured in battle. Karolinska is the hospital in Sweden that has received the most patients from Ukraine. 24 of the 43 patients who have arrived at the hospital are war wounded and 19 are suffering from cancer, three of whom are children. On average, Karolinska now receives one to two injured soldiers a week at the trauma department in Solna.
- For those of us in the Trauma Centre who deal with the aftermath of major casualties on a daily basis, the assignment was as natural as it was honourable. Of course, in the difficult world of war medical care, we cannot fail to be impressed by the primary care provided in Ukraine. Our great challenge then is to be able to meet the expectations that exist where, at the limit of what is technically possible surgically, we try to return a severely war-injured patient to a normal life. In this context, we are probably as proud of what we can achieve as we are unhappy that we are needed," says Gunnar Sandersjöö, Head of Trauma Acute Surgery Orthopaedics at Karolinska University Hospital.
- The war is a great tragedy and our thoughts go out to the people affected, but also to all those in the Ukrainian healthcare system who are struggling under difficult conditions. When patients are transferred to us from Ukraine, it is clear that they have received good care, despite the challenges posed by the war. The Ukrainian medical staff is doing an admirable job," says Björn Zoëga.