A seriously ill Ukrainian woman has been airlifted to Ireland for specialist medical treatment.
The 12-year-old girl, accompanied by her mother and two siblings, who all fled the Russian invasion, were on board an Air Corps flight from Poznan, Poland, under the guard of an HSE medical recovery team which landed at Cork Airport this evening.
The child has now been transferred by ambulance to University Hospital Cork (CUH) where she has been admitted into the care of its pediatric ward for specialist medical care for her specific medical condition over the days and weeks at to come.
His family is staying locally pending longer term housing arrangements.
Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, said that this mission is another example of the humanitarian assistance that Ireland provides to the Polish and Ukrainian authorities.
“I offered such assistance to the Polish Foreign Minister during my recent visit to Poland, where it was clear that their system was overwhelmed by the huge number of people fleeing the war in Ukraine,” he said. .
“There is significant expertise within the Air Corps to provide such a service and I expect we can see more of these missions, if requested and if we have the capability.”
The Air Corps Casa CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft, part of Air Corps 101 Squadron, is typically deployed as an aerial platform to patrol the Irish Economic Zone, an area of approximately 132,000 square miles of sea, but it can also be deployed on air ambulance service.
But in recent weeks the Air Corps has played a key role in Ireland’s humanitarian response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
He flew Irish parents of children born to Ukrainian surrogates to Eastern Europe and last Sunday he brought a Ukrainian baby to Ireland for neonatal care, again with the help of the national team of medical recovery from HSE.
The baby boy, who was accompanied by his mother and four siblings, was picked up from Lublin in Poland and flown to Baldonnel for onward transfer to hospital where he is receiving medical treatment and support services continuous.
As part of this latest mission, the Casa plane took off from Baldonnel on Saturday morning with a crew of four – three pilots and a loadmaster – alongside members of the national HSE recovery team, Dr Eoin Fogarty, consultant in Emergency Medicine and Recovery based at CUH, and a highly trained paramedic, Laura O’Callaghan, from the National Ambulance Service.
Dr Fogarty, who worked with emergency services by helicopter in Sydney, Australia, before returning to work in Ireland, performed Ireland’s first-ever blood transfusion to a critically ill patient in a pre-hospital setting at the scene of a road accident at Cork’s Dunkettle Roundabout in 2019.
Polish medical authorities arranged for an appointment with the Irish medical team at Poznan Airport in western Poland, and the child and his family were placed in their care for the flight to Ireland.
The plane landed at Cork Airport just before tea time on Saturday.
The plane was escorted by airport police to a special car park near the Weston hangar, where the transfer to the ambulance was facilitated, and special advance arrangements were in place to process the various paperwork immigration, while the Air Corps and medical team focused on the child’s medical needs.