Kyiv, February 22, 2016. Fourth medical mission of Canadian doctors has arrived in Ukraine. They first operated on the wounded during Maidan, and later, the ATO fighters. Starting today, Canadian surgeons will perform operations together with military doctors. “Today is the first day for surgeries, about 10 operations are scheduled for today, but this figure may change during the day. Besides, we continue selecting patients who will undergo specific surgery including microsurgery and plastic surgery,” said Anatoliy Kazmirchuk, Head of the National Military Medical Clinical Centre “Main Clinical Military Hospital”, Major-General of Medical Service, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
According to Col.Ihor Fedirko, Medical Service, Director of the Craniofacial Surgery and Dentistry Clinic at the Ministry of Defence Main Clinical Military Hospital, the first mission was to help patients with maxillofacial injuries. However, it turned out that those wounded often had combined injuries of limbs and brain. “So, during the next missions, we additionally involved a neurosurgeon and microsurgeons. And today, during the fourth mission, the number of neurosurgical patients, with trauma injuries in maxillofacial area has divided into three equal parts. And each group has a lot of patients,” said Ihor Fedirko. In addition, due to the Canadian partners, the clinic will be replenished. In particular, they send medical instruments for microsurgery and expensive equipment that will be used in the future to provide specialized care for patients who require it. The cost is about 700 Canadian dollars, said Mr. Fedirko.
Krystina Waller, Director of Humanitarian Initiatives of Ukraine Canada Foundation, informed that over the whole period of the three previous missions of Canadian doctors, “more than 100 patients were operated on, more than 180 reconstruction procedures performed, more than 200 patients consulted”. Overall, the team of Canadian doctors traditionally consists of 22 people. “These are surgeons, anesthesiologists, female and male nurses. They are all volunteers, all give their time for free, and the Ukraine Canada Foundation covers the cost of transportation, etc. These people take vacations because they want to help and support Ukraine in this period,” noted Krystina Waller. She also noted that in total the Government of Canada has allocated 1.2 million Canadian dollars. These funds have been allocated to different programs: two missions of Canadian doctors, telemedicine, i.e. contacts between the Ukrainian medical centers in Kyiv and Toronto, programs of exchanging doctors, trainings through military organization “Protection of patriots” and the largest sum – 700 thousand dollars are allocated to the equipment that will remain in the Main Clinical Military Hospital.
Mark McRae, plastic surgeon, University of Toronto, admitted that surgeries for wounded soldiers in Kyiv are very complex and require comprehensive approaches. “In North America we rarely encounter such serious injuries. But we have developed advanced technologies that we can share with our colleagues here,” said the Canadian surgeon. He added that though he has no Ukrainian background, he has friends among the Ukrainian diaspora representatives and is happy to help Ukraine. “It’s as if we returned home again. We have seen remarkable results of cooperation between people who overcome borders,” said Mark McRae.
Viktor Hetmanczuk, President of the Canada Ukraine Foundation, noted that the Foundation is engaged not only in medical assistance to the wounded Ukrainians. For example, recently Canada has launched Holodomor Awareness project through which Canadian students will learn about Holodomor and human dignity. “In addition, 16 ambulances will be sent to Ukraine, 8 to Kharkiv and 8 to Luhansk. There will be coaches who will teach Ukrainian drivers, because these ambulances differ much from others,” said Viktor Hetmanczuk. “We hope that each quarter we will send one container of supplies for a hospital. We will choose a hospital and bring up to 100 beds there. “According to the President of the Canada Ukraine Foundation, another project aims at providing assistance to the wounded 11-year-old boy named Mykola, who had lost two legs and one hand as a result of mine explosion. He is in Montreal. Canadian doctors will be working with him for 10 years.