Canadian volunteers worked closely with Polish and Ukrainian medical staff during their medical mission. Global News
A Canadian medical team recently returned from a mission to Poland, where the group of volunteers helped injured Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Global’s Julia Foy travelled with the Canada Ukraine Foundation charity and has more on their work to help victims of war – Dec 11, 2022
Surgeries began at 8 a.m. and went until after midnight in the hospital named Powiatowy Zespot Zaktadow Opieki Zdrowotnej in the town of Czeladz.
All of the surgeons, nurses and medical staff with the Canada Ukraine Foundation’s Canada Ukraine Surgical Aid Program are volunteers who are fueled by passion.
“The entire objective of this humanitarian effort is to provide comprehensive, complex surgical assistance to the casualties of that war,” Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn.
The ongoing devastation in Ukraine, caused by the Russian invasion, has wounded thousands of soldiers and civilians.
“It’s frustrating. I would say (the war has made me) more than emotional, (it has) made me angry,” said Dr. Steven McCabe, who’s been to Poland on five missions.
“You wonder for what purpose something like that could happen.”
At the Polish hospital, 35 medical experts and support staff from Canada are helping with surgeries for war victims, on a medical mission.
A 33-year-old Ukrainian woman, who was severely injured when a Russian missile struck her home, spoke to Global News. Her son died in the missile strike.
Global News is hiding her identity for safety reasons and is referring to her as Oksana.
She said her son was slumped in a chair and shrapnel from the missile that instantly killed him. She also heard her daughter calling and found her covered in blood. She survived.
Oksana received facial surgery to repair the injuries sustained in the missile strike. Her surgery took eight hours to complete.
Over 10 days of the mission, the Canadian medical team consulted with 28 patients and completed 42 complex procedures, working alongside Polish and Ukrainian doctors.
“(We are) educating Ukrainian physicians to do advanced surgery, whether it be orthopedic care or micro-surgical care,” said Dr. Kevin Higgins.
The importance of the training and sharing of knowledge is not lost on the local doctors.
“For us, it’s very important to do this operation together with our Canadian surgeons and partners,” said Dr. Nhat Herych, Lviv Emergency Clinic’s chief of surgery.
The Canada Ukraine Surgical Aid Team is planning another mission in March but is hoping the war will be over before then.
Canada Ukraine Foundation is a registered charity and all of the costs of its medical missions are covered through fundraising.