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Internists Concerned About Dangerous Health Situation in Ukraine, Call on Russia to End Hostilities

Statement attributable to:
George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, MACP, FIDSA

President, American College of Physicians

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 3, 2022 –The American College of Physicians (ACP) is greatly concerned that the Russian government’s attack on Ukraine is causing grave harm to both civilians and combatants in the country. While the exact number of casualties and injuries is unknown, it is estimated to already be in the thousands, and it increases every day. Ukraine’s health care infrastructure is also under threat. This includes reports of damage to hospitals and clinics or nearby those facilities, evacuation of patients and staff from those facilities, and documented cases where access to physicians, hospitals, medical supplies, oxygen, and critical prescription medications have been interrupted. Reported power disruptions will block the use of ventilators, operating rooms, dialysis machines and other life-saving medical equipment. Documented use of certain weapons of war including cluster munitions are causing civilian casualties. Additionally, a refugee crisis has been created by the fighting causing an estimated one million people to flee the area. Many of these refugees are women, children and the elderly who are being subject to harsh conditions that potentially include a lack of food and water, weather exposure, and increased transmission of communicable disease, including COVID-19.

ACP is concerned that this conflict, like other recent and ongoing violence and conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and other locations, has endangered the lives and health of so many people. As physicians we feel a responsibility to speak out for those who are being harmed.

ACP stands with our physician colleagues in Ukraine who are doing all they can to save lives under extremely dangerous and disruptive conditions. We join with the global health community, including the World Health Organization and the World Medical Association, in expressing deep concern over the health impact of the conflict. All steps should be taken to end the conflict and mitigate the harm it is having on human health. The Russian government should end the attack. Additionally, the global community needs to ensure that refugees get the medical and mental health care they need, including necessary prescriptions, safe lodging, food and nutrition, in consultation with host countries and global governmental and non-governmental relief organizations.

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About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 161,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Contact: Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org