2,000 trauma operations in a year: Inside Ukraine’s leading battlefield hospital


(KYIV, Ukraine) — Doctors at Ukraine’s leading trauma hospital are working around the clock to save the most badly wounded soldiers as the country continues its counteroffensive against Russian forces.

In the last year, a team of 100 surgeons has performed 2,000 trauma operations at the hospital, the hospital’s director told ABC News’ Ian Pannell. The facility’s name and location are being withheld.

Nearly all the injuries treated there are shrapnel wounds from Russian shelling, missiles and exploded mines, the director said. Only 2% of the injuries are bullet wounds. Of the 2,000 trauma operations over the last year, around half were amputations performed on soldiers who lost limbs in battle.

The heavy toll has only increased in recent weeks, with the hospital seeing a 20% surge in patient admissions since the counteroffensive began two weeks ago, the director said.

Ukraine said Monday it had driven Russian forces from an eighth village.

“We are moving forward gradually, with small steps, but very confidently,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Tuesday, adding that Ukrainian forces are “gnawing every meter of land from the enemy.”

In some areas, Russia is advancing and Ukrainian forces are on the defensive, Maliar said. In eastern Ukraine, Russian forces fired more than 277,000 shells at Ukrainian forces in the last week, Maliar said.

As an ABC News crew visited the trauma hospital, surgeons were amputating the leg of a 30-year-old soldier who had stepped on a Russian mine. Another patient was an American veteran from Alaska who was hit by shrapnel from a tank round two days ago while volunteering to fight for Ukraine.

“It’s a lot of artillery. It’s a lot of tanks sitting at standoff distances,” the American veteran told ABC News.

After being stabilized, soldiers are taken for further medical care away from the hospital by a fleet of around 40 ambulances, with help from of a crew of international medics.

ABC News’ Darren Price contributed to this report.

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