Ukraine children's hospital is place of care, survival and tragedy

Even with a bombardment of bombs across Ukraine, the country’s largest children’s hospital has doctors and nurses working around the clock to help the wounded and quell the rising death toll.

Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv has become ground zero for anyone in need of surgery or critical care amid intense Russian shelling.

14-year-old Yura Nechypurenko was treated after suffering gunshot wounds in his hand and arm from a Russian soldier. He told hospital staff he witnessed his father’s murder.

Yura Nechypurenko, 14, recovers from injuries suffered at the hands of a Russian soldier. He witnessed his father's murder. (Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital)

"Every day we see injured children," hospital spokesperson Anastasia Maherramova said. "Almost every day I cry because it’s not easy to see it and hear such terrible stories."

Hundreds of children are estimated to have been hurt or killed since the Russian invasion more than a month ago.

Doctors, nurses and staff have been living, sleeping and working at the hospital for more than a month, rarely venturing out into the city streets.

Hospital staff said Russian troops are hitting or blocking major roadways, which is preventing ambulances from getting to the hospital.

They also said Russian markings found on buildings indicate the hospital itself could be a target, which is considered a war crime.

Rocket shrapnel found inside Okhmadyt Children's Hospital following several blasts in Kyiv.

Earlier this month, missile strikes hit nearby buildings causing damage to Okhmatdyt hospital. Windows were blown out, the ceiling collapsed, and rocket shrapnel was found. No one was hurt, this time.

"It was terrifying," Maherramova said. "I was sitting on the floor in the corridor and the floor was shaking. We thought maybe we will die today."

Despite the danger encircling them, the heroic work goes on with surgeries happening on even the smallest victims.

6-year-old Milana was hurt when a rocket hit her family’s home, killing her mother.

Milana, 6, was hurt when a rocket hit her family’s home, killing her mother. As she recovers, she draws daily pictures in honor of her mom. (Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital)

While her father survived and is by his daughter’s side at the hospital, Milana spends her days drawing pictures in her notebook and creating art in honor of her mom as she recovers.

Another mother is healing in a nearby room after shielding her infant from glass and shrapnel following shelling of their home in Kyiv. She underwent surgery and suffered shrapnel wounds.

Maherramova said she has been documenting the stories of all of the hospital patients so the world can see the truth.

"I am a super emotional person and for me it’s super difficult," said Maherramova. "It’s a terrible war where children are dying every day."

Brooks Jarosz is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email him at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @BrooksKTVU