BC surgeons volunteer in Poland to help injured war victims in Ukraine

new westminster surgeon Dr. Kimit Rai recently returned from a volunteer mission in Poland.

Rai traveled to Poland with the Canada-Ukraine Foundation to perform reconstructive surgery on people injured in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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The surgeon has a vast wealth of knowledge and work experience as he has operated on over 3,000 patients in 25 years, specializing in cleft palates and facial deformities.

“Major reconstructive surgeries were performed,” Rai said.

“There were gunshot wounds and a lot of refugees from many different places.”

Rai has joined a specialist team of doctors, nurses and medical support staff who are helping to rebuild the faces, limbs and lives of patients working in Poland.

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“Patients could not be treated adequately in Ukraine,” said Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn, of the Canada-Ukraine Surgical Assistance Program.

“It’s a medical system targeted by Russia with more than 100 hospitals destroyed. The medical system (in Ukraine) is overwhelmed.

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The Canada-Ukraine Surgical Assistance Program has a long heritage in this now war-torn country. The two doctors first came to Kyiv in 2014 to help patients.

But when the Russian invasion began, it was deemed too dangerous to bring in the team of Canadian volunteers.

Work then began to find a hospital in Poland near the border where patients could be treated and return home to Ukraine.

“When these patients arrive in Poland, they have become friends, they have become family,” said Julia Krekhovetsky-Malaniy of the Canada Ukraine Foundation.

“That’s why we keep doing the work.”

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Looking ahead, Dr. Rai is currently working on a plan to establish a children’s surgery center in Ukraine, which could be supported by Operation Rainbow Canada, a voluntary non-profit organization that helps children in need.

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