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Hartford Hospital Doctor Travels to Ukraine to Offer Mass Casualty Training

May 17, 2022

A Hartford Hospital doctor recently shared his emergency medicine skills with medical staff in Ukraine as part of a medical mission. A member of Team Rubicon since 2018, Stanley Chartoff, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAWM, traveled to western Ukraine for three weeks on a medical support mission. Dr. Chartoff said initially the primary mission was to provide medical care for displaced people at shelters, including primary care concerns and minor illnesses, but because of the strong Ukrainian medical system, there wasn't a high need. Instead, they were asked to provide instruction for physicians, nurses and paramedics about chemical warfare and trauma training for a mass casualty event, such as Stop the Bleed and triage methods. Dr. Chartoff is an attending physician at the Hartford Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine and is the chairman of the Disaster Preparedness Committee. He also has 30 years of military experience. “Most of it was new to them,” he said of the emergency training. “They may have had superficial exposure, but this type of training was very much needed.” Teaching in Ukraine He taught in larger group settings at a variety of hospitals, including the main teaching hospital Lviv Regional Clinical Hospital. In the teaching theater, he said about 110 people were able to attend the training. “People were very appreciative and asked a lot of questions,” he said. Chartoff said Lviv is a beautiful old-world city with cobblestone streets and cathedrals, but also modern amenities. The group of 18 also traveled to other nearby cities within a two-hour radius, speaking with people at shelters and soldiers who were injured and recovering. Although there were nightly air raids and bombings in the region, they weren’t in the area of the city where they were staying. “I was extremely impressed with the Ukrainian people. Several of the people I spoke to had relatives from further east that were more affected by the conflict,” he said. “They tried to keep a sense of normalcy, going out to dinner, walking their dogs. It was a part of their resilience.” Chartoff in Ukraine Chartoff said he thinks these trips are important as the U.S. has a lot to offer for training. “With my experience and training, I think it is important to share the knowledge, and obviously there is a need.” Last spring, during the height of the COVID pandemic, he spent three weeks in an emergency department in Navaho Nation, in Arizona, with Team Rubicon offering medical care. He also has responded to disaster situations, such as hurricanes. Team Rubicon is an international, non-governmental organization that specializes in disaster response. He said the staff at Hartford Hospital and Kenneth Robinson, MD, chief of emergency medicine at Hartford Hospital, were very supportive of the mission. “I was gone for a month and had to get my shifts covered, my co-workers were very supportive and helpful with that, as they have been in the past,” he said. He also speaks about his experiences to residents, and he has an international disaster fellowship at UCONN. He said some former residents have joined Team Rubicon and some of the emergency department nurses are getting involved as well.