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Doctor pictured in viral photo describes evacuating children from damaged ward

Tuesday, 9 July 2024, 14:16
Doctor pictured in viral photo describes evacuating children from damaged ward
Vitalii Its is a toxicologist in the Okhmatdyt hospital ward most damaged in the Russian attack on 9 July. Photo: Oleksandr Huseiev on Facebook

In the wake of the Russian missile attack on the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital, medical staff and concerned citizens of Kyiv helped to clear away the rubble and evacuate the patients.

One of them was children’s toxicologist Vitalii Its. A photo of him carrying a child in his arms went viral on social media.

Quote from Irena Horodetska, an acquaintance of Vitalii Its: "Today I saw a survey on social media: ‘Is there anyone you are proud to know personally?’ It was in the morning before the massive Russian attack on Kyiv. I sat and thought about it…


Now I have an answer. This photo is of someone I’m honoured to know personally: Vitalii Its, a toxicologist at Okhmatdyt. I thank Fate for bringing me together with such great people and professionals!"

Vitalii told Ukrainska Pravda.Zhyttia that he wasn’t at Okhmatdyt when the Russian missile hit, but at another clinic, Dobrobut.

"After receiving a message about the strike and the need for help, the clinic mobilised all its resources to help evacuate the most seriously ill patients to the inpatient hospital at Dobrobut," Vitalii recalled.


He immediately joined in the efforts to help those affected by the attack.

Photographer Oleksandr Gusiev shared a photo of Vitalii carrying a patient to safety from the toxicology department.

Vitalii explained that he knew the patient in the photo personally.

"It’s just one of the children who was undergoing treatment in the building that was damaged the most during the strike, in the toxicology department. Luckily, he wasn’t in the epicentre of the strike.

There was nothing heroic about what I did. I was just carrying him to a safer place," Vitalii added.

He continued to help the young patients at the site of the attack until late in the evening.


  • The toxicology building was the worst hit in Russia’s attack on the biggest children’s hospital in Ukraine. Seriously ill children were undergoing dialysis in this building.
  • Health Minister Viktor Liashko reported on 9 July that 94 Okhmatdyt patients have been evacuated to other medical institutions.
  • As of 9 July, 68 other patients are staying in other buildings at Okhmatdyt that were not damaged in the Russian strike.

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