Nelya Melnitchouk came to the US from Ukraine when she was 18. After becoming an oncology surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, she began working with an organization to share information on cancer treatment with her counterparts in Ukraine. But once Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24, cancer treatment was no longer a priority. As Melnitchouk tells the Washington Post, doctors started reaching out with questions about trauma care. "Lots of civilians are dying," Melnitchouk tells the Post. "That's not what should happen." And with her launch of an educational campaign from 4,500 miles away, Melnitchouk is hoping it won't.
Melnitchouk teamed up with emergency medicine physician Eric Goralnick, who works with the Stop the Bleed educational campaign, to release two YouTube videos that teach Ukrainians how to stop significant bleeding. In one 39-second video, Goralnick—whose paternal grandparents were Ukrainian—uses a dummy to demonstrate how to stop blood loss and apply a tourniquet, alongside written Ukrainian instructions. In a longer 4.5-minute video, Melnitchouk offers step-by-step narration in Ukrainian: Anyone giving assistance should first call medical professionals, then look for significant bleeding, and if they find it, apply pressure using a cloth or tourniquet.
The videos have been viewed more than 5,000 times combined since they were shared March 4 on the hospital's YouTube page. "Even if this video can save one life, I accomplished my goal," Melnitchouk, who has family in Ukraine, told Boston.com earlier this month. "This is the smallest thing I can do," she added, per CBS Boston. "I wish I could do more." Amid videos of Russian forces firing on civilians and a maternity hospital, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported Monday that at least 636 civilians have died and 1,125 have been injured during the invasion. The actual figures are thought to be "considerably higher," the office said. (Read more Ukraine stories.)