Doctors Without Borders train local colleagues in war surgery

Kwar surgery – a word like a scalpel. For 50 years, Médecins Sans Frontières staff have been experts in this discipline. Because one of the major triggers for the need for medical emergency aid – the core task of the aid organization – are wars. Doctors Without Borders runs a clinic in Amman, Jordan, which specializes exclusively in the acute and follow-up treatment of injured civilians from Syria or Yemen: patients with gunshot wounds, patients whose torn limbs have to be amputated, patients who have prostheses fitted.

Eva sleeper

Editor in the “Life” department of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

Surgeons from the aid organization are now trying to pass on this specialist knowledge to colleagues in the Ukraine. In the Kiev clinic Okhmatdyt, the largest children’s hospital in the Ukraine, MSF staff conducted training this week to prepare the hospital’s staff, now down to about a tenth of its 2,000 staff, in the event of a mass influx of injured people. The hospital has a capacity of 750 beds.

Contingency plans for triage

Anja Wolz, MSF’s emergency coordinator in Ukraine, explains that most surgeons at Okhmatdyt Hospital specialize in certain areas, and that there are no traditional trauma surgeons. A vascular surgeon from Médecins Sans Frontières therefore gave training in life-saving trauma stabilization and trauma surgery for war wounded – in practical operation in the operating room. This includes, among other things, removing bullets and shrapnel, preventing internal bleeding, but also proper wound cleaning. “If such a wound is not treated properly, it can quickly become infected,” says Wolz.

At the moment it takes hospital several wounded every day, and their number will presumably increase. According to Wolz, an emergency doctor from Doctors Without Borders, who has a lot of experience in war zones, went through the emergency plans for triage and internal organization with the employees. If several seriously injured people are admitted at the same time, the hospital staff would now have basic knowledge.

“We want to come back quickly to build on what we were able to do during our first short visit,” says Wolz. “We were not able to complete the training for the treatment of several seriously injured people at the same time, and we could do more to further improve patient flow in such a situation.” There are also plans to develop an optimized supply organization.

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