University Hospitals Health System Inc.

09/25/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/26/2023 07:39

Three Physicians from UH Urology Institute Plan Medical Mission to Ukraine

Media Contact:

CJ Sheppard, Manager Communications
Email: [email protected]

PARMA, OH - Three University Hospitals Urology Institute physicians are traveling to Ukraine in October to perform pelvic surgeries on trauma patients injured in the ongoing war with Russia. UH also is supporting the mission by sending a donated ambulance stocked with nearly 700 pounds of surgical and wound supplies.

Laura Bukavina, MD, a Ukrainian-born urologic oncologist at University Hospitals, inspired the mission after three previous trips to her war-ravaged homeland. On her first trip to Ukraine just days after Russia's February 2022 invasion, she found little medical support at a border crossing. This time she's bringing reinforcements in the form of two reconstructive urologists who can perform procedures on patients with war-related pelvic trauma. Dr. Bukavina, along with Shubham Gupta, MD, and Kirtishri Mishra, MD, will travel to Lviv and Kiev from Oct. 13-22.

The three physicians work together at UH Parma Medical Center, in the heart of the largest Ukrainian population in Ohio. Dr. Bukavina grew up in Parma, after emigrating with her mother from the Ukrainian city of Lviv when she was 11.

"This goes beyond mere temporary relief," said Dr. Bukavina. "By sending our globally recognized surgeons to Ukraine, we're embodying UH's mission: to heal, to teach, to discover. They'll not only execute life-saving surgeries and improve quality of life, but by training the gifted Ukrainian physicians, we're ensuring these advanced surgical techniques continue to benefit the local population long after our mission concludes."

In Ukraine, where Dr. Bukavina maintains many contacts, she plans for UH surgeons to introduce local physicians to innovative surgical techniques to better care for their patients wounded in combat. As a urologic oncologist who did her surgical residency at UH and her fellowship at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia before recently returning to Cleveland, she is making connections with urology practices in Lviv and veterans hospitals in Kiev.

UH donors David Rosenberg, MD, a pulmonologist at UH Ahuja Medical Center, and Enid Rosenberg, former UH Ahuja Medical Center Board member, worked with Daniel I. Simon, MD, UH's President of Academic & External Affairs and Chief Scientific Officer, Ernie and Patti Novak Distinguished Chair in Healthcare Leadership and Daniel Ellenberger, EMT-P, Director UH EMS Institute, to facilitate the donation of an ambulance that will be shipped to Ukraine. The three UH physicians stocked the ambulance at MedWish, a local nonprofit started by UH Urology Institute Chairman Lee Ponsky, MD, that collects and ships surplus medical supplies to countries in need.

"This is a great community story," said Dr. Simon. "So many people came together to give this ambulance to this mission and support the people of Ukraine.

The urologic surgeons traveling to Ukraine with Dr. Bukavina are pleased their expertise can be beneficial to patients and medical professionals abroad.

"We aren't going to change the world in one trip, but there are a lot of skills and expertise we can bring to bear," said Dr. Gupta. "Laura is providing an amazing example of what can be done."