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Denver Medical Assistant providing medical care in Ukraine

Doug Amis, center, and another volunteer helping a Ukrainian woman. (Photo courtesy of Global Care Force)

Doug Amis never knows if he’s going to spend the day in a building, a tent or a makeshift clinic.

The Denver physician assistant has been in Ukraine for two weeks with the Kansas-based nonprofit Global Healing Force providing medical care to people living in war-torn cities.

“We have set up locations in churches and schools. Today we were actually in a medical clinic, which I was very happy about. I mean, I was in a closet in a medical clinic, but you have to work with what you have,” Amis said in a Zoom interview while stationed in Odessa. “I’ve been on medical missions where it’s been a tent or even sheets hanging on the beach.”

Medical teams of two doctors and three nurses will spend a month in Ukraine, using two mobile vans to visit eight different communities.

“During Russia’s first six weeks in Ukraine, we began to recognize that doctors from small communities were being reassigned to active combat zones,” said Scott Oberkrom, CEO of Global Care Force. “Residents of communities that have not been able to resettle or flee Ukraine are left without health care. We have therefore developed the model of mobile clinics with partners in the country. »

Friends and his team have helped provide medical care for people with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, while also treating people with serious physical injuries.

He helped a group of people who were hiding in a basement for 40 days. These were people between the ages of 60 and 70 with various chronic illnesses who were not receiving the medications they needed. They also developed high blood pressure and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We try to do the best we can with the resources available. With the lack of medical infrastructure here in Ukraine, hospitals are working with little more than a skeleton crew,” Amis said. “Now, of course, there is such a great need.”

To avoid capture, another man lay in a ditch for three days with shrapnel in his foot. He managed to find a small village and hide in a basement with other villagers. Friends and his group were able to help treat his wound and find him a proper hospital. Since then, they have continued to monitor and care for his foot.

Amis has worked in the medical industry since 1987 when he was in the Navy. He worked as a paramedic and paramedic, performed surgeries, and became a medical assistant. After taking a leave of absence from the medical world to become a chemist, Amis returned to receive his PA certificate from Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood and his master’s degree in medical science from St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania.

Friends has worked with Global Care Force — formerly called COVID Care Force — since 2020, when the organization traveled to the Navajo Nation during the pandemic. Dr. Gary Morsch founded the organization at the start of the pandemic.

“Dr. Morsch said, ‘How can I help? Where are the gaps? Where can our volunteers go? And with his decades of experience in health care and advocacy, he focused on putting connecting health professionals with communities in need,” says Oberkrom.

Global Care Force accepts donations of medical supplies, money and volunteers. Donations can be used to directly sponsor a volunteer or the organization as a whole.

“These Ukrainians are some of the most amazing and grateful people,” Amis said. “Some of the most resilient people I have ever met.”

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