Southwest Florida doctor makes his way to Ukraine amid war

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Naples Doctor Dunavant
Dr. Scott Dunavant

A Southwest Florida doctor is on his way to Ukraine. He’s answering the call for help as so many Ukrainians suffer in this war.

He’s going from Southwest Florida to Frankfurt to Warsaw and then on to Ukraine. Dr. Dunavant typically works at NCH as an ER physician for team health. But, for the next few weeks. He will be part of a team providing rapid medical response in wartorn Ukraine.

Operations are not new to ER physician Dr. Scott Dunavant. But, the operation he’s on now means heading to the frontline of the war in Ukraine. “They’re running out of equipment. They’re running out of supplies,” Dr. Dunavant said.

He believes this could be one of his most important operations. “It’s important to give back,” said Dunavant.

Why this operation? Because it makes him better. “It makes you a better physician as a provider because it also, more importantly, makes you a better person. You become more empathetic or keeps you empathetic,” the doctor said.

Dr. Dunavant is en route to a country under siege. He works with Global Response Management. In January, the Florida-based humanitarian group was put on notice. “I actually got my notification about this possibly going down January 7th,” said Dunavant.

In Ukraine, GRM has three objectives: get patients to the hospital, teach injury care and management and provide rapid medical response.

“We go both where the needs were pre-assessed as well as we’re mobile, fast, small. So we go where things change, and things often change frequently,” Dunavant said.

Even trying to get to Ukraine changed often. Dunavant has had delays and missed flights, but he’s been able to shift his perspective. “You’re not taking everything you have in a suitcase and trying to flee 300 miles by foot, dragging three kids in tow,” said Dunavant.

Millions have been forced to flee, but as they seek refuge, reinforcements are on the way. “We are actually the first group that is not Ukrainian-based to actually do surgeries in Ukraine. We just started doing those for them just this week.”

Dunavant says he wouldn’t be able to be in Ukraine if it weren’t for his colleagues stepping up to cover his shifts at NCH.

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