Franciscan Health hospitals and clinics, working with the Illinois Division of the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA), will send 100,000 pounds of medical supplies for the injured people of Ukraine. 

The effort began a week ago at Franciscan Health Dyer, where obstetrician/gynecologist Roman Puliaev, MD, sought to gather surgical equipment that had been in a room with a steam pipe leak. While the material could no longer be used at the hospital, it could still be useful in a warzone like Ukraine. He connected with UMANA, which was organizing a charter flight to take supplies to Poland for transportation over the border into Ukraine.

Obstetrician/gynecologist, Dr. Roman Puliaev Puliaev, graduated from Crimea Medical University and came to the U.S. in 2002

After hearing about the gathering of supplies for UMANA, Franciscan Health Crown Point Vice President of Medical Affairs Erik Mikaitis, MD, sought to expand it into a system-wide effort, putting the call out to divisions in Central and Western Indiana and South Suburban Chicago to collect equipment and material that was excess or near expiration.

“From gloves, gauze and bandages to syringes, sterile irrigation fluid and even surgical equipment; along with these supplies, the entire Franciscan team sends our hope for peace in Ukraine and our prayers for the safety and wellbeing of the Ukrainian people,” Dr. Mikaitis said.

UMANA representative and physician at Express Care Clinic in Michigan City Mariya Dmytriv-Kapeniak, MD, said Logistics Plus, Inc., is providing transportation and storage of the supplies at no cost. The supplies were picked up from Franciscan Health locations in Crown Point, Munster, Michigan City, Lafayette, Ind., and Olympia Fields, Ill., on Friday, and from Greenwood, Ind., on Monday. The organization is chartering a plane to take the supplies to Warsaw, Poland. From there, the supplies will be loaded onto trucks and will be taken to Ukraine’s hospitals, field hospitals and frontlines.

Tucked in with the supplies will be prayer cards provided by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, Franciscan staff and students at St. Matthew’s Cathedral School in South Bend, Ind. Franciscan Health Michigan City Vice President of Mission Integration Sister Petra Nielsen said, “I think it is important to let everyone know that the Sisters are praying for all those in the Ukraine during our hours of perpetual adoration (24/7) at our Motherhouse in Mishawaka. It is so beautiful to see everyone at Franciscan come together in such a short time.”

At Franciscan Health Olympia Fields, Rev. Ted Ostrowski, chaplain, carried out Franciscan Health’s enduring tradition of prayer and blessing as he prayed “for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are experiencing the terrible blight of war with the catastrophe of losing their lives, homes, jobs, security and safety.” As he sprinkled holy water on the medical supplies enroute to Ukraine, he said, “We pray for the blessing of safe delivery of these supplies so they can help people they are intended to help and give them comfort.”