International cooperation to save children

About Ukrainian, American and world professional experience in neonatal medicine of newborns on the examples of the work of the Kyiv City Hospital No. 1 and the best US clinics with the involvement of an authoritative expert in this field, Dr. Ronald Hokstra

From 13.04.11

Recently, another team of Kyiv neonatologists returned from the United States, who managed to get acquainted with the medical practice of their Western colleagues. Our specialists were received in one of the best neonatology departments in the USA by Dr. Ronald Hoekstra, who is a very authoritative expert in this field. For 4 years he has been closely cooperating with Ukrainians, regularly invites them to his clinic, he comes on visits, shares his experience. Often makes gifts through technical support.

Doctors Ronald Hoekstra and Rostyslav Semikov

Cooperation began in 2006 on the initiative of Ronald and his Kyiv colleagues: Igor Chermak, who heads the Kyiv City Hospital No. 1, the rector of the Institute of Ecology and Medicine, the chairman of the Kyiv City Council Commission on Health Mikhail Salyuta, and the head of the youth department of the Christian intern doctor Rostyslav Semikov.

Igor Chermak, chief physician of Kyiv City Hospital No. 1, notes that the benefits of this cooperation cannot be underestimated: “Thanks to the initiative of the Shepherds Fundand Dr. Hokstra, we were able to visit the best US clinics and establish cooperation with many of them. In addition to the invaluable exchange of experience, the hospital also received the necessary resuscitation equipment from Dr. Ronald as a gift: artificial ventilation devices, incubators for nursing premature babies, etc. At this moment, once a year, our specialists go there and always return with pleasant impressions.”

In the United States, there are very powerful clinics that specialize specifically in saving the lives of premature babies, whose weight is less than a kilogram. Such a clinic is the Central Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the life of little people, they fight there to the last: “They treat babies there as a full-fledged person, they constantly emphasize that even these 500 grams are already a living person and they should be treated as if they were alive,” says neonatologist Liudmila Shevchenko . This meticulous execution of their tasks is the key to success.

Doctors Ihor Chermak and Ronald Hokstra examine a baby

When Dr. Ronald visited Ukraine for the first time, he was pleasantly surprised and noted that we have a fairly high level of medical work, but there is no technological base. Indeed, the fully equipped American departments shocked our specialists: “We have no difference in medical approaches. The only thing is that they have very convenient technological equipment, - says Igor Chermak, - if the doctor immediately needs some data, he contacts the nurse, and after 30 minutes he has all the tests that can be done quickly on the computer"

In addition, all the manipulations that a doctor performs in Ukraine with his own hands are performed by nurses of the highest category. The devices are not handled by a doctor or a nurse, but a respiratory therapist is a separate profession. In Ukraine, in addition to the lack of a technical base, there is a shortage of personnel in the field of neontology. The profession of a neonatologist in our country is not considered profitable, so not many medical students choose this specialty, but go to higher-paid ones such as: surgeon, gynecologist, anesthesiologist. “Our department has only 5 people, and the workload is very large, there is no shortage of personnel in the USA. What 5 people do there, one doctor does here,” notes Irina Berdnikova, head physician of the department of neontology.

Neontology in Ukraine began to develop only in the last decade. Currently, Western methods are used in the country. Prior to this, our specialists worked according to the old program. Irina Berdnikova comments on this as follows: "While in the US, a doctor relies more on outpatient examination results made with high-quality equipment, our doctors are used to relying on their own intuition."

Changes have taken place both in the technical field and in the personal approach. The project "Health of mother and child", which has been working in Ukraine since 2004, also provides for a psychological change in the work of neonatologists. So, one of the key differences that our doctors emphasized after visiting the clinic in Minnesota is the relationship between the doctor and the patient: “Ronald tells the parents the truth about the child’s condition, but with some kind of positive accent: that is, he says that there are certain the baby has problems and what the danger is, but it always ends with the fact that now the child feels good. He is in a constant positive and parents, although they are worried, are not so embarrassed as they usually are. Lyudmila Shevchenko was also surprised by how friendly the relations between employees were: “I really liked the relations in the team. The doctor treats the nurses with great respect and emphasizes every day that the nurse is my eyes and ears.”

Dr. Ronald and the children he saved

Mr. Ronald is a believer, and he is convinced that only with God's help he could achieve such significant success in the field of medicine, and it was spiritual principles that motivated him to help his Ukrainian colleagues. Now our specialists can save the lives of little people with an even more likely chance of success: “I was very impressed by the enthusiasm with which Ukrainian doctors take care of mother and child. They are so attentive and educated, but it was obvious that they lacked medical facilities and modern equipment. And we found ways to cooperate.”

Ihor Chermak talks about his colleague: “Ronald is, firstly, a combination of human, spiritual, professional qualities. Of all the doctors I have seen to this day, he is the only one who is a combination of Reverend, doctoral excellence and humanity. There would be more such specialists in our medicine!”.

Unfortunately, in Ukraine, neither the state nor private sponsors invest enough in the field of neontology. The most famous organization dealing with the problems of newborns is the Viktor Pinchuk Fund. In June 2006, he launched the Cradle of Hope program aimed at developing a network of modern neonatology centers throughout the country. But can one fund change the whole system?

Let's hope that our officials, starting serious reforms in the healthcare system, will not only use advanced world technologies and knowledge, but will also pay more attention to the embodiment in our system of such qualities as spirituality, Christian kindness, philanthropy, characteristic of the best specialists. in the field of medicine in the world. Perhaps then the reforms will be carried out not only on paper.