Ukrainian surgeons learned how to extract ammunition from wounded soldiers thanks to the efforts of the Red Cross.
Norwegian Erik Tollefsen, who heads the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) department for the protection of the civilian population and committee employees from the consequences of war, namely from mines and other munitions, told Babel about this in an interview.
Ukrainian surgeons used Tollefsenʼs instructions in at least two cases. In one, the ammunition was removed when the patient was already dead. And in another case, the wounded man was saved, and none of the doctors were injured.
What is the work of the Red Cross? They first encountered the situation of ammunition in the bodies of soldiers in Yemen in 2015. Then the hospital received a patient with an unexploded shell in his body. They invited military experts, military and civilian surgeons from around the world who had dealt with such cases before.
Special protection was also developed for surgeons — a protective sleeve was made from a special material that allows surgeons to use medical instruments, but reliably protects their fingers in the event of an explosion. Ukrainian surgeons do not yet have such sleeves, but Tollefsen noted: "This is something we can provide Ukrainian doctors with if they ask for it." He also noted: "Itʼs really a problem, itʼs very difficult during a military conflict to connect a surgeon who is somewhere on the front line with our team in Geneva."
Tollefsen also said that he can sit in the office and support teams of surgeons around the world. They send photos or videos of explosive objects, he examines them, identifies them and develops advice on how to conduct an operation.