UNMC’s Dr. Hamill joins critical care outreach to Ukraine

Mark Hamill, MD

Mark Hamill, MD

The flight to Ukraine was uneventful for Mark Hamill, MD.

That doesn’t compare to the 10 days he spent in Lviv, Ukraine, which was memorable in more ways than one.

“It was a truly amazing experience,” said Dr. Hamill, an associate professor in the UNMC College of Medicine.

UNMC’s Mark Hamill, MD, gives a presentation while in Ukraine on a visit by the Society of Critical Care Medicine to educate health care professionals in the country.

Dr. Hamill was part of a multidisciplinary team of 20 health care professionals from across the United States and who are all members of the Society of Critical Care Medicine who went to Ukraine in late August. The team’s task was to educate health care professionals there on aspects of the critical care assessment and management of surgical patients, as well as ICU liberation – how to get patients out of the ICU more quickly and with better functional status.

“We had physicians and nurses from all over Ukraine, including military physicians and nurses who are directly involved with the war,” Dr. Hamill said. 

A former New York City police officer and paramedic, Dr. Hamill is used to high stress situations, and the time he spent in Ukraine was no exception.

“There were a few times the sirens sounded with missile warnings, but eventually you took your cue from the Ukraine citizens around you, and if they weren’t worried or taking shelter, then you knew it was OK,” he said.

While there, the Society of Critical Care Medicine team provided education on recognizing the critically ill patient early to allow for more rapid interventions and the prevention of complications. Other areas stressed included pain control and delirium prevention, as well as successful liberation of patients from intubation and physical rehabilitation while they are still in the ICU, so they have better outcomes when they are released. 

“The Ukrainian doctors are seeing more complex cases in ICU patients with blast injuries involving multiple organs that have been impacted and are doing their best to adapt to the new realities of war,” Dr. Hamill said. 

The multidisciplinary society of critical care team, which consisted of physical therapists, physician, surgeons, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists, were there to pass along best practices and support their Ukrainian counterparts as much as possible, he said. 

Since coming to UNMC in July 2021, Dr. Hamill said he has been more involved in international education outreach. In September 2022, he went to Kigali, Rwanda, to teach the critical care medicine course, followed by a trip to Jerusalem and Palestine in March. 

“I like the idea of giving back when we can, and just by providing education, we can help improve the medical care that people receive in other parts of the world,” Dr. Hamill said. 

Click on this video to see footage from the trip.

1 comment

  1. Daniel Johnson, MD says:

    Fantastic work, Dr. Hamill! I am often impressed by the international outreach efforts of SCCM and its members, but these trips to Ukraine are truly extraordinary. Thank you for representing UNMC so well, and for sharing your critical care expertise with people in need.

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