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Development of Latvian-Ukrainian microsurgery capabilities

10 days turned into 5 months! That's how long an outstanding Latvian microsurgeon Olafs Libermanis has been helping in Ukraine. Every day he goes by providing practical help to the defenders who have been wounded in the war. People's lives have been saved, opportunities for a better quality of life have been given, hands have been preserved and their functions have been restored. In parallel to the work in hospital, new specialists are being trained so that the Latvian doctors in Ukraine can return to their homeland.

A severe hand trauma medical unit has been established on the basis of the Main Military Clinical Hospital in Kyiv. This has been achieved using the equipment, supplies and funds of the Wound Clinic (Hand and Reconstructive Team - HRT), as well as thanks to sponsors and the support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Doctors at the Catastrophic Hand Unit deal with extremely severe hand injuries and treat these injuries with the use of microsurgery. The unit provides assistance to the hospital patients, but also responds to calls from other military and civilian hospitals.

As the conflict in Ukraine continues, help for severe hand trauma patients will be needed. As the front line moves away from Kyiv, some people fail to receive immediate attention for their injuries. If cases aren’t treated promptly, it makes treatment more complicated and recovery longer. The leadership of the Ukrainian Army Medical Service is only gradually becoming aware of the hand injury and the importance of timely and correct treatment. With the end of active war in Ukraine, a large number of disabled people who will need reconstructive operations to prevent or mitigate disability is expected. The Wound Clinic (HRT) and the Wound and Bedsore Association have initiated a long-term project that will help to solve these problems at least partially.

In order for the medical unit to continue to function, it is necessary to gather correct equipment. Since the beginning doctors have worked with very modest equipment, 30% of which is from Soviet times. Part of which was made in the 80s and 90s of the last century in the Latvian factory VEF and In the Society of the Blind. Thanks to the support of sponsors and donors, some essential equipment has been purchased. However, the current equipment kits are generally outdated and cannot be resupplied. Moreover, field operations require additional tools, such as a small, mobile microscope (the current mobile microscope model was purchased in 2011 and has since been removed from production, it is also not suited for doctors working in teams with assistants).

The medical team is faced with the fact that all specialists are also military personnel, meaning when they are transferred to field hospitals, the central hospital is left short-staffed, complicating the provision of daily assistance in the unit. The goal is to provide a stable and well trained team of specialists. The European School of Reconstructive Microsurgery (RMES) supports these initiatives, several of its leading specialists ( such as Marco Innocenti and Jaume Masia) are ready to visit and operate in Kyiv and train young specialists in Ukraine. However, it lacks a stable team, and they are looking for specialists to train which could ensure continuous work in the unit in the future.

Required expenses:

  • replacement of the tools and kits: EUR 14,757.16
  • Dermatome skin graft perforator (device for taking skin grafts): 16
  • 333 EUR
  • mobile microscope for surgeon and assistant: EUR 66,630
  • pneumatic power tools (drill, bone saw, etc.): 23,933 EUR

The Project is placed online on: 21.07.2022

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