An Interview with a Medical Volunteer at the Ukraine-Poland Refugee Border


Massachusetts General Hospital surgery resident Selena S. Li, MD, discusses her overseas volunteer work caring for refugees escaping their home during the Russia invasion.

More than 5.7 million people have left Ukraine during the 2022 Russian invasion, according to data from the United Nations on May 5th. By and far, the neighboring country Poland has received the greatest proportion of refugees fleeing their home from the attacks—more than 3.1 million, per the same report, or approximately 310,000 people per week since Russia first invaded in late February.

Many of these people are leaving behind their entire livelihood, save their loved ones, for the sake of protection and stable shelter amid the invasion. Countless international organizations and sympathetic nations have contributed resources and funding toward assuring these refugees are assured beds, food, and medicine when necessary. But at times, resources have begun to dwindle while the crisis persists, and the responders awaiting refugees are calling on greater aid.

Among the Ukraine refugee care volunteers currently at work is Massachusetts General Hospital surgery resident Selena S. Li, MD, who recently spoke with HCPLive regarding her team’s research into heart transplant allocation. By chance, Li had just recently arrived overseas to provide medical care to women and children reaching the Ukraine-Poland border during her interview.

This special episode of DocTalk features a discussion with Li on her volunteer work at the border, the efforts of supporting organization Medical Volunteers International, and how she and fellow generous peers were receiving and treating refugees throughout the invasion.

“All I did today was treat somebody’s cut on his foot, and he was incredibly grateful, for just anyone to pay attention or provide any kind of care during their long, long journey,” Li said. “Just being on the road for days, I think that definitely takes its toll.”

Clinicians and caregivers interested in donating to, or even volunteering with, Medical Volunteers International can find more information here.

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