Suburban doctor returns from Ukraine border after delivering $500K in medical supplies

Liz Nagy Image
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Suburban doctor returns from Ukraine: 'The situation is catastrophic'
Dr. Zaher Sahloul with MedGlobal in Evergreen Park has just returned from Ukraine where he saw the devastation of Russia's attacks firsthand. He believes it will only get worse.

EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Dr. Zaher Sahloul is just back from the Ukrainian battlefront and deeply disturbed by what he saw, the fresh trauma of repeated Russian attacks.

"It's very bad. I think the situation is catastrophic and it will get worse," he said.

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He doesn't say that lightly. Dr. Sahloul's group, MedGlobal, provides medical care in more than half a dozen war zones across the world, including his homeland in Syria.

"We've seen today what's happening in Mariupol. Looks to me like Aleppo, with the targeting of hospitals," Zahloul said.

On a whirlwind humanitarian mission, he and five other Chicago-based doctors plus three others delivered more than 150 suitcases worth of medical supplies to Polish refugee camps, and across the border to the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Healthcare workers there can't keep up.

"They needed a lot of help. They needed help with training and dealing with mass casualties," Sahloul said. "They needed help training on when the healthcare system is disrupted because it used to be centralized in Kyiv and now every hospital is on its own."

As the team of doctors in various specialties traveled back to Poland, they cared for a fleeing Ukrainian family.

"These are innocent victims. Their car was marked clearly and the Russians shot at them," he said. "I think it is important for our policy makers to hear the cries of Ukrainian children and women, and to take it seriously."

And that's why he intends to return, to relieve the victims and his fellow doctors.

Dr. Sahloul is already planning his next medical mission to Ukraine, and with years of war zone experience his deepest concern remains attacks on hospitals and what he sees as a very real danger of chemical weapons.