Physician Joins Rescue Team to Treat Ukraine Orphans, Escort to Safety
Volunteers Aim to Unite Orphans with Adoptive Families in U.S.
Huntington Hospital affiliated-physician John Rodarte, MD, traveled to Ukraine this week on a humanitarian mission to rescue two dozen special needs orphans from the war-torn country.
Rodarte has teamed up with a global group of volunteers for the mission being led by nonprofit organizations Exitus and Third Wave Volunteers.
"These special-needs kids are, from what we understand, also quite ill--many of them are malnourished, they had been receiving medications and no longer receiving medications once the war started,” Rodarte said. “We expect them to be quite sick."
The volunteers, which include other healthcare professionals, will be tending to the children's medical needs while escorting them out of Ukraine. The goal: Flying the orphans to the U.S. on a chartered medical flight, where the children will be united with adoptive families. Dr. Rodarte, a pediatrician with Huntington Health Physicians, said he is driven by a desire to help others.
"I do search and rescue with the LA County Sheriff’s department, so I'm used to going into situations that might be difficult. This one's different, this one isn't in the mountains or anything like that, but I have skills that could be utilized, I had the opportunity and was invited, and it just felt like something I just had to do,” he said.
Huntington Hospital is an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai Health System.