Before the war, Yekaterina lived in Horlivka, but when the fighting broke out she and her family escaped to Dzerzhynsk (now Toretsk), where they managed to rent a house. In December, 2015, she gave birth to Yegor, who required specialized medical care for a heart defect that causes him to lose consciousness and stop breathing. Ambulances are slow to arrive when the baby has an attack (many Roma in Toretsk complain of long wait times when emergency medical care is needed, even when it’s a matter of life and death). After Yegor’s treatment at a hospital in Kramatorsk, the family had to pay out of pocket for care in Kharkiv, which used up all the money the state paid Yekaterina for her maternity leave – money that came after a long delay because social services lost her paperwork). Yegor needs to be constantly watched over and requires regular blood tests that are very expensive. The family is in desperate need of help, since Yegor needs specialized care in a major medical center, while his brother, Rinat, needs to be seen by an ENT specialist.
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