Experience in a mission, such as the Piedmontese one which has involved doctors, technicians and nurses from all over the Piedmont Region for health care and patient care activities but also for training, is not only valuable baggage for those who have undertaken, but also for those who, through the testimony of those who have lived it, can reflect on the value of the health profession and its most authentic vocation.
Sunday Pierconti’s story
“It was the morning of 6 February when the news of the earthquake in Turkey was broadcast on the news. That morning I go to work when around 2.00 pm I first receive an SMS and then a phone call…I answer…a recorded voice…speaks…I understand…they were starting the search for staff who would join the departure for the mission in Turkey. Astonishment, fear, joy, anxiety, happiness… I feel my heart pounding, I didn’t think it was really happening. My name is Domenica Pierconti, I’m 40 years old and I’ve been working as a nurse in the operating block for about two years. I had just started training at the EMT-2 Surgical Unit of the Piedmont Region when the phone call came… news that immediately took me by surprise, then I realized that the dream of a lifetime was coming true… none hesitation … I answer and accept. I leave on February 15, the destination is Antakya in the district of Defne. Being part of the first group, once we arrived on site we took care of the construction of the field hospital. A crazy organization and in the following days what was created was an incredible synergy with the group, colleagues, friends … No one perceived the difference in role, we were all there with a single purpose and desire … to help those poor people who had found with nothing in a matter of seconds. The energy and harmony with colleagues made everything magical and special. It made it possible to share thoughts, emotions, comparisons and fears. The emotional impact upon arrival was not easy, trying to “read” the emotions and fears on people’s faces, but also the tears and thanks for what we were doing was touching. We have experienced particular moments, from the second earthquake to the military helicopters flying over the sky. It wasn’t easy to live with the aftershocks but the group sustained itself day after day… and I felt I was in the right place. It was what I call a life experience, on a professional, personal and human level. During the mission, in that whirlwind of emotions, the strongest ones were certainly witnessing the birth of 22 children both by natural birth and by caesarean section. The phrase “LIFE IS REBORN ALSO FROM THE DARK” is really true. Now I’m here, back home within my “safe walls” but the return was anything but easy. I missed the camp as well as my adventure friends. Sometimes you can only appreciate what you have or the simplicity of things when you move away from home or from your comfort zone… you learn not to take anything for granted anymore. I take this opportunity to thank the whole group of the Surgical Unit, the President Mario Raviolo, my team leader Nicole Sabrina Goldschmidt and the whole group that has been my family for almost three weeks. If I leave?? Yes, of course…even now!!”
The story of Elisa Della Selva
“My name is Della Selva Elisa and I have been working in the intensive care unit of the Biella hospital since 2020. On 4 March 2023 I left for a humanitarian mission in Turkey, precisely in Antioch (Antakya) to help people in the earthquake-stricken areas. Since high school one of my wishes was to be able to take part in a mission, and this year when the EMT-2 Surgical Unit of the Piedmont Region, in which I am enrolled, contacted me, I did not hesitate to accept the proposal. I was in Turkey for two weeks, we worked in field hospitals and lived in equipped tents. I had the opportunity to meet colleagues from all over Piedmont, with whom a relationship of collaboration and later friendship was immediately established. The experience in the field, on a professional level, was unforgettable: I had the opportunity to work and help in areas I had never been in, enriching myself both professionally and personally. From this experience I bring home an important emotional baggage: during the two weeks we experienced firsthand the poverty and desperation of the people, who despite everything always had a smile and some sweets to offer us. We had the opportunity to visit what remains of the city, what we immediately noticed was the silence that invaded those streets, and you realize you are lucky. The return to normality hasn’t been easy at all, a piece of my heart has remained there, and every day my thoughts return to Turkey and this wonderful experience. We must thank the Piedmont Surgical Unit, the Team Leader Nicola Tommasoni, the Deputy Leader Andrea Vermena and the President Mario Raviolo for the organization; last but not least all the Civil Protection personnel who took care of the maintenance of the field at any time of the day or night, allowing us to work and live to the fullest”.