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NSPC Nurse Joins the Ukrainian War Effort

Olga Fingerman volunteers to help refugees at the Polish-Ukrainian border

On Saturday morning, many of us woke up to a fresh cup of coffee while tuning in to the latest news on the Russian-Ukrainian war. At that same time, Olga Fingerman boarded a plane to Poland and headed into action.

Some know Olga in her regular capacity as a Nurse Practitioner affiliated with National Spine and Pain Centers (NSPC) in Gainesville, Georgia. Over the next few weeks, Olga will take on a new role as a humanitarian volunteer on the Polish-Ukrainian border. She parts from her husband and two young daughters at home in Georgia to head into the war zone.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 created a heart-wrenching refugee crisis. Nearly 4.8 million Ukrainians have left their country in dire and uncertain circumstances. Many flee by train across the Polish-Ukrainian border and temporarily stop in Warsaw before heading out to other parts of Europe. Olga will spend the first part of her trip in Warsaw, interpreting for refugees that arrive at the Central Railway Station. She will also go to different Welcome Centers, offering refugees temporary housing during their stay in Poland. Olga is originally from Russia, but her mother is Ukrainian. She speaks fluent Russian, which allows her to communicate with Ukrainian refugees since the two languages are fairly similar.

During the second part of her trip, Olga will cross the Polish-Ukrainian border to the war zone. She will work alongside a doctor and a paramedic in a Humanitarian Aid Center in the small village of Shagini. Olga will use her skills as a pain management nurse while working with Ukrainian refugees, mostly women, children, and the elderly. These people may have some physical injuries but also suffer from depression, anxiety, poor sleep, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The refugees share similar challenges to the chronic pain patients Olga works with in the United States.

“Ukrainian refugees are going through both physical and mental pain in unimaginable ways. I encounter these challenges in treating pain patients every day and hope to apply the same approach to working with the refugees,” say Olga. “My biggest tools with any patient, are listening to their stories, show understanding and compassion, offer options and most important – offer hope,” she says.

Besides her courage and medical abilities, Olga takes with her 18 suitcases of medications and medical supplies to Ukraine. Some supplies were graciously donated by National Spine and Pain Centers and other individual donors. Dr. Peter Staats, Chief Medical Officer of NSPC, arranged for a donation of 10 noninvasive Vagus Nerve Stimulators from electroCore. These top-notch devices are FDA cleared for migraines and have received a breakthrough designation from the FDA for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), common issues in people traumatized by war. Olga also used her private funds to buy combat-grade tourniquets, currently in short supply on the battlefields.

“One of the core values of our organization is: We go the extra mile in all internal and external relationships”, says Douglas Wisor, MD, Chief Executive Officer of National Spine and Pain Centers. “Of course, we have people in our organization who do that every day, but by selflessly leaving her family behind to help Ukrainian refugees in their time of greatest need – as a medical professional and on a personal level – Olga represents the true essence of a hero,” concluded Dr. Wisor.

About National Spine and Pain Centers:

For more than 30 years, NSPC affiliated physicians have been pioneers in the relief of chronic and acute pain through minimally invasive procedures and leading-edge clinical research. Today, with more than 130 locations and 1,250 medical professionals facilitating one million patient visits a year, NSPC continues to be the healthcare brand more people trust for access to pain relief providers than any other. NSPC’s stated mission is to end needless human pain and suffering by facilitating world-class care. For more information, visit www.NationalSpine.com.

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