Dr. Paul Runge has spent most of his time in Ivano-Frankivsk, a Western Ukrainian city
A Florida doctor who was spending his retirement years teaching and volunteering recently returned to work after seeing the devastation caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Instead of returning to his private practice in Sarasota, Florida, however, Dr. Paul Runge flew thousands of miles to help Ukrainian newborns and infants.
“I wasn’t ready to just sit around and do nothing for the remaining part of my life,” he told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, during a phone interview while he was in Ivano-Frankivsk, a Western Ukrainian city. “I was sitting at home like everybody else, watching unfold and just wondering what I could do.”
Runge then reached out to some contacts in Western Ukraine and left for the war-torn country on July 4. During a 10-day visit, the retired ophthalmologist helped doctors throughout Ukraine.
Runge started his trip 80 miles north of Lviv, before he joined a children’s hospital neonatal intensive care unit in Ivano-Frankivsk. He also helped a neighboring military hospital.
“I was really excited when I realized that, No. 1, they wanted me, and No. 2, I could really be of help,” Runge said. “I don’t want to be like a bull in a China shop and tell everybody ‘hey, you gotta do it this way, that’s the way we do it.’ but I’ve really enjoyed being here.”
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