Augusta University nurse heads to Ukraine for cardiac patients

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 3:06 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An Augusta University nurse was given the opportunity to travel to Ukraine to help patients in need.

Sara Elizabeth Curry has been a nurse for over 30 years, with experience in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).

As Curry watched tonight one night, she noticed the death toll and fighting escalated in Ukraine.

She knew she needed to do something to help.

“When the war started, I just felt so bad for the people,” says Curry. “I wanted to do something to help.”

Three months later, she was on her way to Ukraine.

Curry found a post on Facebook from Dr. Bill Novick, CEO and Medical Director of Novick Cardiac Alliance, asking for nurses who would head to Ukraine in March. She put in her application but did not get selected.

On May 1, she saw the group was going to Ukraine again. This time in June.

Curry applied, again. She heard back three days later she got selected to go.

“I still wasn’t convinced I really had enough post-op cardiac care to really be able to jump in, so I came in one day and watched the PICU,” said Curry. “I wanted to make sure I knew what to do, I’ve been around it enough that I felt like I probably knew it.”

Curry was one of 16 to go, including two film crew members.

Once the team got through the border of Ukraine, they were put to work.

The group operated on five kids, two of which were already in the hospital. During this time, they were dealing with several odds, including using outdated medical equipment.

“It was a really wonderful experience. I don’t know who benefitted more from us being there, them or us,” says Curry. “We all just love the people there, you just love being able to go there and help.”

Novick says this was one of the best groups he’s ever seen.

Novick remembers the care Curry gave one child. He said the baby was on a ‘razor’s edge’, each hour an unknown, and each day a new problem they’d need to solve.

Curry was attached to him, spending the majority of her time there trying to make him better.

“Liz was the true champion for trying to pull this kid out of the black hole he was in, she gave it her all and really did great,” said Novick.

It was the trip of a lifetime for Curry, but she doesn’t see it that way.

If there is a need and she is able to go, she wants to.

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