40 wounded soldiers to undergo surgery in the framework of the third medical mission of Canadian doctors in Ukraine


Kyiv, 26 October 2015 – This week, in the framework of the third mission of Canadian doctors to Ukraine, a team of Canadian surgeons will again be operating on soldiers wounded during the ATO and civilians hurt during the Maidan revolution. This was announced by Christina Waller, the Director of Humanitarian Initiatives of the Ukraine-Canada Foundation, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Centre. The Canadian government has allocated 1 million 200 thousand dollars for the special programme to help the wounded in Ukraine. «The first two times when we were operating on men injured in the East or on Maidan we operated on nearly 60 patients. This year we are planning to operate on 40.», – Christina Waller detailed.

According to Oleh Antonyshyn, Head of the Adult Craniofacial Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and professor of plastic surgery at the University of Toronto, the third team of Canadian doctors in Ukraine consists of six surgeons, two assistants, two anesthetists as well as male and female nurses, altogether 22 medical professionals. «There are specialists in neurosurgery and craniofacial reconstruction. There is also a surgeon on the team who deals with arm microsurgery and reconstruction», – Oleg Antonyshyn has specified. On their current mission to Ukraine, Canadian doctors have examined more than 60 patients, and for 40 of them operations have been planned for this week. The operations on other patients can be carried out in February during the next visit of Canadian doctors to Ukraine.

According to Ihor Fedirko, medical service colonel and head of Craniofacial Surgery and Dentistry Clinic at the Ministry of Defence Main Clinical Military Hospital, the majority of those 40 selected patients have already been operated on in Ukraine. In the Main Clinical Military Hospital, where the Canadian doctors are working side by side with their Ukrainian colleagues, there is a special ward set up. It has three operating rooms, and 8-9 operations are to be performed there daily. «Those patients who need surgeries today […] will receive treatment this week. Those patients who will need operations in 2-4 months, and as for now there are about 20 of them with craniofacial injuries, we are planning to operate on during our next mission», – Ihor Fedirko mentioned.

Viktor Hetmanchuk, president of the Ukraine-Canada Foundation, has said that when the doctors got back after the second mission to Ukraine «and calculated that had we brought all those patients to Canada and operated on them there, it would have cost 350 thousand dollars to only carry out 40 operations per week. One should also calculate that we have to bring and accommodate them too, then it will cost nearly half a million dollars», – Mr. Hetmanchuk stressed. Therefore, the doctors decided to travel to Ukraine themselves and use the money allocated by the Canadian government in a more frugal way, and thus to help a bigger number of wounded. Concerning future plans for the next years, «our projects are small, but strategic», Mr. Hetmanchuk added. After the operations will be performed medical equipment provided by this mission, costing about 700 thousand dollars, will remain in Ukraine so that Ukrainian surgeons can further operate on soldiers. Besides, the president of the Ukraine-Canada Foundation has said that in the framework of the program, the Canadians have been helping orphans and widows of the fallen soldiers by providing them with psychological rehabilitation. Namely, these were 10-day tours to the Carpathians, eght of which have already taken place. «We are trying to bring them back the understanding that there is still life here and to take the first steps for their rehabilitation», Mr.Hetmanchuk explained. Furthermore, the Ukraine-Canada Foundation has created a new rehabilitation application on mobile phones.  «If someone feels stressed and does not want to see a doctor and acknowledge that he or she is depressed, they can simply answer 17 questions on the mobile app, and they will be provided with an idea of what their psychological state is», – Viktor Hetmanchuk informed. According to him, this program has a special database so that a person can call respective crisis centres and receive help.