UH Parma Urologists Plan Surgical Mission To Ukraine
Laura Bukavina, MD, a Ukrainian-born urologic oncologist at University Hospitals, hasn’t been able to rest since her homeland was invaded by Russia in February 2022. Within days of the invasion early last year, she and her husband and brother departed for Ukraine to find ways to assist. They ended up at a border crossing where the only medical professional was a Canadian paramedic, assisted by a handful of Polish volunteers.
This fall, on her fourth trip to the war-torn country, she is taking reinforcements: 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 from October 13-22.
“We’ve been following along as the whole world has, and there has been a great medical need from the trauma of war,” Dr. Mishra said. “We were happy to help.”
Born in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Bukavina moved with her mother to Parma – which has the largest Ukrainian population in Ohio – when she was 11. She has stayed in touch with many friends and family in Ukraine and made short videos speaking to her countrymen in Ukrainian, explaining the trio’s upcoming medical mission.
“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.”
In Lviv, where Dr. Bukavina maintains many contacts, she is orchestrating for UH surgeons to introduce local physicians to innovative surgical techniques to better care for their patients affected by combat trauma. 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 quickly making connections, including with urology practices in Lviv.
“This goes beyond mere temporary relief,” Dr. Bukavina said. “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.”
Communications Manager, UH Parma Medical Center