WEST READING, PA — When the war in Ukraine began in February humanitarian efforts began around the world, including at Reading Hospital.
Jean Ebersole, PHRN at TowerDirect, will travel to Ukraine on May 17 with a group from the Armada Network to provide care. When the war began Jean thought about looking for an opportunity to provide care there. She decided, “If God wants me to go, he’ll drop an opportunity in my lap – and he did. My husband found the opportunity because it’s a friend of his who is organizing the trip. He encouraged me to go and that was a pretty clear sign to me,” she said.
Jean and her team are preparing to treat anything from primary care to gunshot wounds and other traumas in the field. They will have a clinic setting based in a home and hope to have an ambulance to provide additional treatment in the field.
To help Jean prepare for her upcoming trip, her colleagues at Tower Health with expertise in disaster response, Emergency Medicine, and trauma have been providing additional training and sharing their personal experiences in combat and disaster situations.
Charles F. Barbera, MD, Reading Hospital President and CEO said, “The employees at Reading Hospital are a team no matter where they are providing care, as evidenced by the outpouring of support Jean has received from her colleagues. I am so proud that they are all pulling together to support her efforts. While Jean is overseas, I along with her colleagues at Reading Hospital will be thinking of her and wishing her a safe journey.”
This will be Jean’s sixth mission trip. She also went to Haiti after its devastating earthquake in 2010. She’s also been to Bolivia and Tanzania. With each trip she looks forward to experiencing and learning about new cultures and meeting new people.
“I enjoy prehospital and disaster nursing,” Jean shared. “I can remain calm in terrible situations and I’m good at thinking on my feet. I’ve worked in other areas in the hospital but came back to prehospital. I have a background in primary care and I love educating my patients. This is the first time I will have to wear combat gear to treat patients.”
Filip Moshkovsky, DO, a Trauma surgeon at Reading Hospital, was born in Ukraine. He and his family fled religious persecution by the Soviet Union in 1989. He and his wife still have family in Ukraine. While most were fortunate to leave before the war began, some only left hours before their neighborhood was attacked and homes and a nearby hospital were destroyed. A cousin is still in Ukraine as a member of the armed forces. Other family members still in Ukraine have been in direct contact with the Russians and harassed at gunpoint.
Dr. Moshkovsky said, “I had a strong desire to help because what I was seeing and hearing was horrific, the suffering seemed unfathomable, and the evil being perpetrated was sickening. I was blessed to move to the States, receive an education, and be a productive member of society while living in peace. People who were born in the same hospital and are the same age as I am are fighting for their very survival now. I feel that it is my duty and sacred obligation to help.”
Dr. Moshkovsky connected with a physician in Ukraine who is organizing medical supply donations and delivering them to frontline hospitals.
“We had no idea what to expect when our collection efforts started,” said Dr. Moshkovsky. “We ended up with 1,400 pounds of medical supplies, enough to fill four pallets. The people of this hospital and this community are generous, caring, competent, and professional people. We received donations from the hospital and our employees, Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences, Reading Fire Department, and some of my former colleagues at Geisinger where I completed my Residency. I am very fortunate to work for this organization and have the support of the leadership team who fostered an environment of support and opportunity. I thank God that I live and work here. Also, I could not do any of this without the love and support of my wife, Natalyia, and our two sons.”
In addition, the Ukrainian Partnership Foundation financially sponsored the transfer of the donations from Reading Hospital to Ukraine, members of the Crossway Church volunteered to help inventory and pack the items, and additional Reading Hospital team members, Anthony Martin, BSN, RN, TCRN, Trauma Program Manager and Gene McGarry, Warehouse Manager, were instrumental in organizing the collection efforts.
“What Dr. Moshkovsky and team were able to collect in such a rapid amount of time is nothing short of impressive,” said Dr. Barbera. “Each day everyone on our team does remarkable things for our patients, our communities, and their colleagues. Now, through Dr. Moshkovsky’s leadership, they are extending their compassion to those in Ukraine who need it most.”
Dr. Moshkovsky is also partnering with the Reading Hospital Foundation for a second employee donation drive to benefit families and children in Ukraine. Katherine Thornton, President, Reading Hospital Foundation shared, “A lot of our employees reached out to the Reading Hospital Foundation to see if we were organizing any efforts for Ukraine. The Foundation is proud to partner with employees on the projects and initiatives they are passionate about, and the collection efforts to support those in Ukraine is no exception.”
“I hope to go to Ukraine this summer to provide medical and surgical care,” said Dr. Moshkovsky. “But collecting medical supplies and other items the Ukrainian people who are in desperate need is the way I can help now.”
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