Updated Mar 22, 2022 - World

U.S. transfers Ukrainian childhood cancer patients to St. Jude

Ukrainian children medical transport

Ukrainian children with chronic illnesses and cancer diagnoses who were being treated in a Harkiv hospital were transported by bus to Medyka, Poland, on March 10. Photo: Omar Marques/Getty Images

The State Department helped transfer four Ukrainian children undergoing cancer treatment, along with their families, from Poland to the U.S. so that they could continue treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

What they're saying: "Children are among the most vulnerable in a crisis, and these pediatric oncology patients need urgent and highly specialized medical care," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a news release.

  • "To that end, the Department of State has coordinated with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to provide necessary life-saving and immediate care to four Ukrainian children whose ongoing cancer treatment was disrupted by President Putin’s war of choice."
  • "We recognize, however, that the children transported represent a small proportion of the thousands of patients whose cancer treatment has been interrupted and, who, even amid a pandemic and with compromised immune systems, were forced to flee their homes."

The big picture: The children and some of their immediate family members were airlifted from Poland to Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, "where they were met and transported to St. Jude."

  • The children will now be able to resume their specialized treatment plans and St. Jude's will help provide their families with "sustenance, security and support," Price said.

State of play: Earlier this week, the World Health Organization confirmed that there have been at least 49 attacks on Ukrainian health facilities since the start of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

  • Russian forces have made a point of targeting civilian infrastructure, including a children's hospital in Mariupol, according to a deputy mayor there.
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