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Colorado doctor travels to Poland to help treat Ukrainian refugees, provide medical supplies

Colorado doctor returns home after volunteering in Ukraine
Posted at 10:08 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 16:09:37-04

BOULDER, Colo. — The horrifying images and descriptions of war-torn Ukraine are replayed on screens and over the airwaves. One Colorado doctor saw enough and decided to act.

"My thought was, "Who would I be not to do for these people what people did for my dad?"" said Marica Pook.

Pook is a Boulder doctor who specializes in internal medicine and primarily provides care to those in hospitals.

"I'm used to taking care of very sick people, so I knew I could help those who needed it in Ukraine," she said.

The doctor also took inspiration from her late Hungarian father.

"My dad grew up in communist Hungary. He fought in the 1956 revolution, he was 17 at the time. A lot of these young kids in Ukraine are exactly that age," Pook said. "So he fought the revolution and eventually escaped into Austria."

On April 2, Pook traveled to Poland to meet with other medical professionals from the United States. Once there, they delivered medical supplies, along with body armor and tactical gear that were donated by the Boulder County Sheriff's Office and the Boulder Police Department.

Pook gave the gear to Ukrainian women fighting in the war efforts. The women will use it for protection as they deliver supplies to areas under fire.

The medical supplies were given to Ukrainian doctors. One doctor had specific needs Pook was able to help with.

"There was a surgeon who really needed something called a dermatome instrument," she said. "A dermatome is a tool that is used to harvest skin for skin grafts, and they needed it because of the mine wounds."

Pook spent the majority of her ten day trip in Poland near the busiest border crossing in Medyka. She witnessed thousands of refugees pour into the country.

"It's women and children, and I think the really hard part is they don't speak the language," Pook said. "They don't speak Polish. If they're going to speak anything, they speak Russian, and a lot of them have been traveling for days."

Pook recalled using her own medical training on many Ukrainians, including one woman who had just survived a bomb attack.

"We took care of her foot and I said to her, there was a translator, and I was like, "I got you. It's going be okay." Then she started to cry and she cried in my arms," Pook said.

The circumstances Pook witnessed in Ukraine has inspired her to continue helping. Most of the supplies she carried into the country were ones she and other family members purchased.

"There's a billion ways to get involved, whether it's on some Facebook group or to donate," Pook said. "And just being kind to each other I think is a great place to start."

Pook's daughter plans to travel to Poland to volunteer in the coming months. To help purchase supplies, click here for the Amazon wish list. This gofundme has also been set up.