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Russian Medical Platoon in Ugljevik

By Lt. ystein Paulsen
First published in
SFOR Informer #76

Ugljevik - Every day the medical platoon at the Russian Separate Airborne Brigade (RSAB) Headquarters in Ugljevik in Multinational Division North (MND-N) open their doors for local villagers. "There is a great need for doctors in the Ugljevik area, and therefore our doctors consult local civilian patients," said Lt. Col. Sergey Edomin, commanding officer of the medical platoon at Ugljevik.

The medical platoon is one of four medical platoons serving the Russian troops in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), and consist of 29 personnel. "We have 12 doctors, including eight specialists, here in Ugljevik. Fortunately, we are not to busy treating our own troops, and therefore we have the capability to help the locals. That means our doctors can keep their skills at a high level, and at the same time, help the local people.

"Normally we have at least 10 local patients a day. We treat them for minor injuries, sickness, and ailments. We also do surgery if necessary," said Edomin. The hospital is a so-called Role-2 facility, and has a total of 10 bedposts. In the hospital, which is the main medical facility within the RSAB, there are several sections, like the operating room, an emergency room, an X-ray section, and a pharmacy. The medical platoon also has several ambulances, and MEDEVAC crews.

"Being the main medical facility for the Russian troops here in BiH, we often receive patients from the other medical platoons in the base camps. But if we have very serious and life threatening cases, we have the opportunity to MEDEVAC our patients to the American Field Hospital at Tuzla Eagle Base for further treatment," Edomin said.

When the Russian doctors and surgeons at Ugljevik need blood for surgery, they get it from the civilian hospital in Bijelina, some 50 kilometres east of Ugljevik. "Under these operational conditions, it is difficult to have our own bloodbank. Therefore we have an agreement with the hospital in Bijelina, where we get blood if needed. Our soldiers have been to the hospital several times giving blood, so in a way you can say that we have our own bloodbank in the hospital," said Edomin. "From a professional point of view, it is very interesting and rewarding being deployed in BiH with SFOR."

Col. Stanislav Grebenyuv, chief surgeon for the Russian Separate Airborne Brigade, agrees, and said that his doctors will take valuable knowledge with them when they go back home to Russia.
"Some of us go to the American Field Hospital in Tuzla Eagle Base weekly, and we visit other medical detachments in the division on a regular basis. It is very interesting to see how other nations do things. Serving with SFOR is an excellent opportunity for us to meet other doctors with whom we can discuss clinical and other medical cases," said Grebenyuv.

Related Link: Russia