The doctor decided to leave the city only when the occupiers turned his hospital into his camp on March 16.
He worked in Mariupol as a doctor for 22 years and in 2014-2015 he already felt what war is, but he could not imagine what awaits him in 2022.
The head of the anesthesiology department of the Mariupol Regional Intensive Care Hospital, Oleksandr Bilash, said in a video address after the unsuccessful resuscitation of a little girl to Putin with whom the whole world flew, he told how he saved civilian and military lives for three weeks.
On March 16, Oleksandr made a very difficult decision for himself – to save his family’s life and leave. Now he is in Lutsk – he is operating on patients again and rethinking all the horror he had to go through.
“The decision to leave was very difficult and was made on March 16, when the war had been going on for three weeks. On the morning of February 24, the staff called me and said that the war had begun.
No one believed that this was possible in the 21st century. And the thought was not to go somewhere and hide. My wife and I got together and went to work: I went to the hospital, she went to the pharmacy. At about 11 o’clock in the morning, the wounded, both military and civilian, began to be taken to the hospital.
With each passing hour, more and more people became in critical condition. This is a special type of injury – military injuries. And so it went on day after day.
The worst thing is when the children started coming. The first was a girl with an injury. She had to live on, get married, have children. And at the very beginning her life was cut off by a shell fragment. It was horrible"
– told Alexander
It was after this child’s death that Alexander Bilash recorded a video address to Putin and the Russians that spread around the world. He still cannot speak calmly about the wounded children who lost their limbs due to the ruthless shelling of the occupiers.
“Video appeals are words and emotions, I would like to tell you what is hidden behind them.
We were called from the reception department and told that there was a child there. My colleague and I ran – I saw a wheelchair and a child. We took her to a place where there was light, and started resuscitation…
My eyes filled with tears. My male colleagues, accustomed to extreme working conditions, all cried. It was awful. I wanted to assess the state of resuscitation measures (check the pupils), and tears of doctors dripped on the child’s face and chest. That’s why there were such emotions.
At some point in resuscitation, we began to realize that they were unsuccessful. And in such moments it is difficult to say everything – resuscitation measures are over. Because it means – the person died. It was very noisy, and then it became quiet for a moment and I said:
“Stop, resuscitation measures are over." And at that moment there was an appeal – maybe it was bad words. But I wanted to say that it is impossible for children, people, pregnant women to die. This is terrible"
– remembers that day Alexander
After March 9, when the maternity hospital was bombed, a pregnant woman was admitted to Oleksandr’s hospital, whose photo flew around the world.
“It is impossible to forget the eyes of that child, the face of this woman who was taken to our hospital. They will remain in our hearts and souls forever. The ambulances no longer worked.
People or the military brought people to the hospital as best they could: on sheets, blankets… On March 9, pregnant women were taken to us. This girl, whose photo flew around the world, she was in extremely serious condition.
Surgeons tried to make an emergency caesarean section to save at least one child. Her injury was very great, possibly incompatible with life. They tried to save her, but the baby was already dead. Our resuscitation activities for mother and baby were unsuccessful. The doctors who performed these measures left the operating room and we could not go there for a long time.
Then we had to do it and put a woman in a black bag and a baby next to it"
– through tears told Alexander.