Most hospitals have had more practice than they would like to organize free beds, at least since the Corona crisis.

It's just starting again in the Essen University Clinic - this time not in the intensive care unit as with Corona, but in the department for pediatric oncology.

Since the Russian attack, healthcare in Ukraine has largely collapsed – and clinics in Germany are now primarily concerned with caring for Ukrainian children with cancer.

Kim Bjorn Becker

Editor in Politics.

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"We try to find free beds for them," says Jochen Werner, the medical director of the hospital.

18 children from the Ukraine are currently being treated in Essen, some of whom have to be treated for radiation every day.

"It's good when family members are close by.

Making this logistically possible is another challenge of this crisis," says Werner.

After two years of Corona, the hospitals in the country are now preparing to treat more refugees from Ukraine.

The children, some of whom are seriously ill, are the beginning, they are among the weakest victims of the Russian aggression.

“Due to the war, urgently needed therapies and examinations in Ukraine have often failed.

The flight then delayed it further," says Werner.

Anyone who receives chemotherapy is struck.

"To have to flee under these conditions and be treated in a completely new environment is an enormous additional burden."

In pediatric oncology, beds were scarce in many places even before the war, and the specialist departments in German hospitals were mostly at full capacity.

Nobody knows how difficult it is to distribute the additional patients better than Angelika Eggert.

The doctor heads the clinic for pediatrics with a focus on oncology at the Berlin Charité.

In the past few weeks she has tried to distribute as many children as possible to German hospitals - including to Essen.

Eggert's main focus is on neighboring Poland, where many refugees are initially hoping for support.

"In my opinion, the situation there is dramatic, the children's oncology clinics are overcrowded," says Eggert.

Above all, there is a lack of staff.

The children would be taken to Germany in buses and transport vehicles,

In Germany, Eggert coordinates the distribution of patients across a network of 60 hospitals.

"In the context of the Covid pandemic and the general lack of care, many are already working at the limit in terms of personnel," she says.

"We were just about to slowly start up normal operations again and now the next crisis is coming immediately." So far, around 120 children have been transferred centrally, but because individual families have also contacted the hospitals directly, the number of patients is slightly higher.

Eggert estimates them at around 150. "At the Charité we are currently caring for nine children with cancer from the Ukraine, and more have already been announced for this week," she says.

"We try to take on predominantly complex cases with an urgent need for therapy that cannot cope with long transport routes from Poland."