Arizona healthcare workers describe Ukrainian medical clinic as ‘overwhelming’

Doctors Mary Ellen Quinn and Ken Wysocki are spending a week away from their jobs and lives in Arizona to volunteer with Ukrainian refugees.
Updated: May. 2, 2022 at 5:00 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

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

Drs. Mary Ellen Quinn and Ken Wysocki (Nurse Practitioners) are spending a week away from their jobs and lives in Arizona to volunteer with Ukrainian refugees. After their first shift in the clinic, our Arizona’s Family crew caught up with them in Poland. “The youngest person was 11 days old. The oldest is 88 years. We’re seeing the spectrum coming at us,” Quinn said.

She decided to make the trip to Poland after watching horrifying images coming out of Ukraine and hearing of the millions of refugees streaming over the border. “There was no thinking about it. It was time to go,” Quinn said.

Their first shift involved treating coughs and colds, and illnesses and injuries picked up along the way, often compounded by stress.

While Quinn worked on another humanitarian mission in Haiti, helping after a devastating earthquake, she says the experience in Poland was different. “You’re seeing the effects of war. I think the emotional toll on day one is more than expected. You have to be here in the moment to understand 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 blows my mind. When we’re dealing with thousands in one center, and this is one of many centers. It’s unfathomable what’s going on,” he said.

Wysocki’s grandparents grew up in a city near the Ukrainian border, so he felt compelled to come help the people of Poland handle the crisis. Both hope to encourage other medical professionals to make the trip organized by International Medical Relief. “We need man and woman power here to hold hands and help,” he said.