Resumption of Short-term Burn Reconstruction Missions to Ukraine in Light of COVID-19: A Paradigm Shift

Robert J. Dabek, Alexey Vlasov, Maxim Savenko, Artem Pasunko, Daniel N. Driscoll, Justin G. Knittel, Gennadiy Fuzaylov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of billions of people globally. Some medical systems continue to be overburdened due to the viral illness leading to incredible public health challenges domestically as well as abroad. However, with vaccination distribution increasing globally, many are pushing for a return to some form of normalcy. In the medical community, some are weighing the risks of returning to global health missions and considering protective strategies to minimize risk of viral spread. Here, we describe our experience in returning to an annual burn reconstruction mission in a low- and middle-income country. We have successfully carried out a return surgical mission trip. Our team of 10 individuals was able to perform over 75 procedures on 25 pediatric patients in 4 operative days. We applied a variety of protective strategies and altered mission protocol to limit exposure and transmission risk while focusing heavily on education and training. Additionally, we increased the use of telemedicine and eliminated typical in-person clinic visits. We increased operative complexity to increase impact while limiting patient exposure. Rigorous perioperative safety and follow-up protocols were implemented. The increased use of telemedicine, reduction of in-person visits, emphasis on education, and implementation of safety and follow-up protocols have led to an improvement in efficiency, safety, and accountability. Our adaptations have provided guidance on responsibly resuming surgical outreach missions, with changes that are likely to endure beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1410-1415
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


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