FABW-funded surgical course huge success

A Find A Better Way-funded course held yesterday for thirteen surgeons from landmine affected countries, organized by the Royal British Legion Centre for Blast Injury Studies (CBIS) at Imperial College London, has been hailed as a huge success.

The course was designed to train the surgeons in new techniques for amputation following a landmine blast injury, specifically what are known as ‘through-knee’ amputations.

Through-knee amputations, which were until recently discouraged in surgical training, have been shown to provide a stronger musculoskelatal structure that leads to increased mobility and a higher quality of life for landmine victims.

The course was led by Professor Jon Clasper and organized by Mr Taff Edwards, who both gained extensive experience with through-knee amputations as military trauma surgeons while on deployment in Afghanistan.

Attendees included surgeons from several landmine affected countries, including Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Columbia, Ethiopia, and Lebanon. Four humanitarian surgeons from the International Committee of the Red Cross also attended.

Speaking of his experience on the course, Mr Thayasivm ‘Goby’ Gobyshanger from Sri Lanka said, ‘The course was fantastic. Until recently the conventional teaching has been that through-knee amputation was a bad idea. Now we have had the chance to get practical experience and learn from surgeons who are experts in this area. We can go back to Sri Lanka and pass on what we have learned to our colleagues.’

Course organizer Mr Taff Edwards was equally enthusiastic, ‘It was a hugely inspiring day. We worked for two and a half years to put the course together, and seeing these surgeons come from around the world and work together to learn these new ways of dealing with blast injuries was fantastic.

‘Landmine victims will directly benefit from what we did yesterday, and I would like to thank Find A Better Way for making it possible.’