SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Sioux Falls nurse is back from a life-changing trip to Ukraine.

He visited communities that have been left without doctors because of the country’s war with Russia.

Mark Haffey, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, spent two weeks in Ukraine bringing medical help to the war-ridden country. However, it was much different from his job description in the U.S.

“No, we didn’t have any operating rooms there. The clinics in the villages where we were at, many of them were in schools, churches, people’s houses,” says Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Mark Haffey.

He says that while the country does have doctors, they are all aiding the war effort.

“So they’re taking care of soldiers, but nobody is there to take care of the normal citizen that lives in there on an everyday basis,” says Haffey.

“They are in communities that have previously been occupied by Russian forces and have recently really been liberated. These are communities that don’t have clinics. They don’t have hospitals. They’re often referred to as villages.” says Global Care Force President & CEO Scott Oberkrom.

Haffey experienced first hand some of the fear that Ukrainians have experienced everyday since the Russian invasion.

“We were in a hotel, and at 11 o’clock at night we heard explosions going on overhead. It was missiles that were incoming and their anti-missile defense system taking out these missiles in midair,” says Haffey.

Haffey says despite the danger, he would recommend this kind of trip to others.

“We saw almost 400 patients in those nine villages, so a significant amount of patients that we were able to impact while we were there,” says Haffey.

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