In the basement of Mariupol, a young woman received a difficult birth by consulting in a chatbot with a doctor from Kyiv
“You saved them. Without you, they would have not survived. You are a hero,” texted Mykola Didyk, the Kyiv Institute of Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Gynecology employee, to Viktoriia on Telegram.
A young woman came to Mariupol during the war to take her parents out of the city but couldn’t leave at that time. That fatal night she was hiding in a basement with an unknown pregnant neighbor who began to give birth prematurely.
The shelling did not allow women to go outside. Viktoriia tried to call for an ambulance, but there was no time to wait, so she asked for help and instructions in a Telegram chat launched during the war to get free medical consultation. Mykola Didyk was the one to answer her. The doctor asked Viktoriia to count the pregnant woman’s pulse, respiration rate, and frequency of contractions per minute.
Realizing that childbirth was close, the doctor asked Viktoriia to find something similar to a towel and explained to her how to deal with the umbilical cord. Since there were no medical instruments, the doctor advised cutting the umbilical cord with glass, if there was no knife or scissors, and tying a string. If there were no laces, he advised loosening the knitted hat or another thing.
Under such circumstances, Viktoriia assisted in labor and saved the woman with her prematurely born baby. Afterward, the rescuers finally arrived and left with the mother and a baby. Viktoriia appeared to be left alone in a basement with a liter of water and no food. To the question of why she stayed alone there, her answer was: her parents had been shot dead in their yard, and she covered their bodies to protect them from hungry dogs. She begged not to ask more questions about those horrible events: “I hold on to my last moral strength.”
Since then, the young woman had been out of connection several times for a long time. After a month of silence, Viktoriia finally texted Mykola that she was somewhere in Ukraine-controlled territories but was unconscious for many days and felt very badly as she came under fire while escaping.
“I’m breathing through the tube again because six of my ribs were broken. One rib has pierced my lung. Kidneys are on dialysis. I feel my legs. The intestine doesn’t work. I’m very tired,” was one of Victoriia’s messages.