PHILADELPHIA — When Roman Dzivinskyi, a young Ukrainian man, was rallying for democracy in Kiev's Independence Square in early February, a bomb exploded, ripping off his left hand and shooting more than a thousand pieces of shrapnel into his chest, arms and face.
Through the Ukrainian Federation of America, in Jenkintown, Dzivinskyi, 21, is now temporarily living with a host family in Northeast Philadelphia as he receives medical treatment.
Sitting in a doctor's office in Montgomery County last week, Dzivinskyi covered his left arm - now a bandaged stump - with the sleeve of his gray, zippered sweatshirt. His right arm and hand, missing part of its index finger and thumb, were also shrouded in a cast and bandage.
Dzivinskyi was granted humanitarian parole by the United States government to come here to receive specialized surgery, said Zenia Chernyk, chairwoman of the board of directors of the Ukrainian Federation of America. His mother, Mariya Dzivinskyi, accompanied him.
In an interview in the Huntingdon Valley office of Mark E. Manstein, a plastic surgeon, Chernyk interpreted for Roman Dzivinskyi, who doesn't speak English.
Dzivinskyi, whose home is in the village of Kamianka-Buzka, near the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, began demonstrating in the capital, Kiev (known as Kyiv to Ukrainians), in early December. He was among hundreds of thousands who protested then-President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to abandon a trade deal with the European Union.
On the morning of Feb. 6, Dzivinskyi was helping to deliver supplies in Independence Square when a car pulled up and a man got out with a box and told Dzivinskyi that it contained medical supplies, Chernyk said.
"He carried the box, put it on the table next to where the supplies were supposed to be going, and opened the box to take the supplies out," she said.
"There was a box of cigars on top. He lifted it up and the bomb exploded. He doesn't remember anything after that. . . . When he regained consciousness, there was a lot of smoke around him. . . . He realized his hand was missing and the other hand was severely damaged and everything was bleeding."
After first being treated at a Kiev hospital, Dzivinskyi was moved to a hospital in Lviv, then to a Polish military hospital. From there, he came to the U.S. last month. Dzivinskyi was operated on at Holy Redeemer Hospital in Montgomery County by Thomas Gillon, an orthopedic surgeon with the hospital and the Philadelphia Hand Center.
He has also been examined and treated by Joanna Fisher, an eye doctor with Valley Eye Professionals in Huntingdon Valley, who donated her services.
"He still had multiple pieces of metal particles embedded in his right eye," she said. She will be monitoring him.
Manstein, who is also donating his services, said he will later remove some of the shrapnel from Dzivinskyi's face and body.
Chernyk said her organization has sent three other wounded Ukrainians to Detroit for treatment. And three more will soon arrive in this area - two to be treated in Bucks County and a third in Lehigh County.