AUSTIN, Texas - More than 10 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine, according to the United Nations. 4.3 million have left for neighboring countries, while another 6.5 million are thought to be displaced inside the war-torn country.
An Austin emergency room doctor is helping those crossing into Poland.
Dr. Austin Potter is volunteering for Fundacja Od Granicy Do Mieszkania. The Polish NGO also known as "ODGM" translates to "from the border to the flat." The organization helps secure transportation and housing for those fleeing Ukraine.
"I think everybody wants to help. You know, and this is a way that I could help." he said.
Potter spent two weeks in Poland in late March and early April. He plans to return to the country after he fulfills his monthly U.S. emergency room shift requirements over the next two weeks. Potter worked at Warsaw Central Station triaging refugees.
"Most of what I saw over there was chronic medical conditions, kidney failure, heart failure, hypertension, et cetera that had gone untreated for two days to a week. People who haven't had their medications, hadn't had their dialysis, hadn't been able to make it into their primary care provider because they're escaping a war zone." he explained.
Potter also distributed medical supplies donated by his company Compete Care, a chain of freestanding emergency room clinics -- most are based in Texas.
"Our modest contribution is very small compared to the efforts of the people just trying to find food and water for their families and trying to cope with the psychological effects of the war there." said Complete Care Medical Director Dr. Daniel Roe.
Potter connected with the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. The group is continuing to distribute the supplies he donated. He hopes to connect with other groups for supplies distribution upon his return.
While Potter was in Poland Ukrainian troops liberated several suburbs around Kyiv.
"There were signs of torture. There were signs of mass executions. And there were graphic photos that [refugees in Poland] were seeing in real-time while they were in line trying to get through the central station. And for them, this isn't some faraway place. This is their Round Rock or their Pflugerville -- if you can imagine and put yourself in their shoes? So in this state, with the trauma they're experiencing, they're expected to transport themselves across the border into a country that they know nothing of, to get housing and lease an apartment and then provide essential supplies for their family." he said.
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