Mount Prospect dentist on mission to help Ukrainian homeland
Vasyl Baranovsky calls his dental practice Mount Prospect Angel Smile Dental Care.
These days, the name takes on new meaning for Baranovsky, who takes on the role of something of an angel for his native Ukraine.
Baranovsky, who came to the United States in 1994, collected about 250 pounds of dental supplies from a garage in Bensenville and plans to airlift them to the beleaguered Eastern European nation in May. Items include gauze, local anesthetic, antibiotics and composite resin for dental restoration, as well as toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hits Baranovsky. His sister lives in the north of the country, near the border with Belarus.
“She called me in the middle of the night and told me the war had started, the Russians had started attacking,” Baranovsky said. “And she told me she heard the explosions.”
His nephew stayed home to fight the Russians after his wife took their two children to Poland, and a friend and patient came from the United States to help the Ukrainians, he added.
“And I keep a very close bond with him,” Baranovsky said. “And he’s giving me horrible information about what’s going on there.”
There is an urgent need for dental supplies in Ukraine, he said, as the war has halted production of needed items.
Getting the supplies to their destinations is a complicated affair, involving a chain of couriers transporting items from Chicago to Poland to the Ukrainian border.
In addition to sending dental supplies, Baranovsky is supporting a dental clinic in western Ukraine that will treat refugees and wounded from the war-torn eastern part of the country who need dental help.
Baranovsky’s work is part of a larger effort across the region to send medical and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The work involves organizations such as the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America. Its president, Maria Hrycelak, CEO of a pediatric practice in Park Ridge, said efforts were underway to send a plane carrying dental supplies.
“We recently received requests for dental supplies due to the increase in the number of refugees, and they came with nothing,” she said.
Oak Brook resident and periodontist Andrew Browar is leading an effort to send high-end equipment to be used in facial and oral surgery. He has been involved in efforts to obtain orthopedic plates and screws for jaw fractures and facial fractures, as these types of injuries are very common.”
“And most of the medical relief goes to things for other parts of the body,” he added.