By: Ahsia Clayton, MS3, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
On June 1, 2021, the Harvard Global Orthopedics Collaborative (HGOC) hosted a webinar on orthopedic surgery in conflict zones. Our featured guests were Dr. Mohammed Ali Al Bayati, Dr. Richard A. Gosselin, Dr. Roman Hayda, and Dr. Mark Price, all of whom are senior orthopedic surgeons who have had unique experiences operating in active war zones with limited resources.
The webinar opened with a presentation from Dr. Al Bayati who discussed the atrocities of war and logistics of military medical operations in front hospitals during the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran War. Dr. Al Bayati also shared some of the new medical guidelines, technologies, and surgical techniques that were developed by the Al Rasheed Military Hospital in Baghdad during the conflict.
Our next speaker, Dr. Gosselin, captured similar themes but introduced them through the lens of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Orthopedic surgeons in conflict settings deployed by ICRC must be prepared to operate on weapon and non-weapon emergencies while maintaining the four pillars of humanitarian assistance: right to life in dignity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence of thought and action. Through the ICRC Reconstruction Project in Tripoli, the ICRC has evolved into an organization that not only treats acute injuries but also provides long term treatment for chronic debilitating injuries.
The role of orthopedic surgeons in these settings is broad and the responsibility to do good and do no harm requires the ability to adapt by being innovative, flexible, and prepared. These core skills were the highlight of Dr. Hayda’s discussion as he used his experiences serving in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Haiti, and Ukraine to underline the basic principles of orthopedic trauma care in combat.
Dr. Price shifted the focus from a logistical viewpoint to a more personal journey on his time in service in Afghanistan. His experience in the US Navy included surgery in active combat, humanitarian surgery, and far forward deployed surgery. His presentation underscored the importance of being creative, positively impacting patients’ lives, and using those experiences to guide your practice.
In closing, the webinar introduced several themes with unique perspectives from each of our guests. The field of orthopedic surgery has made many advancements due to the successes and complications of trauma surgery during wartime, including improvements in trauma care guidelines, equipment for damage control surgery, and logistical operations. Whether we are aspiring or practicing orthopedic surgeons, the tools and skills of the combat surgeon are extremely versatile, with applications to the management of trauma patients all over the globe, but especially in resource limited settings.
You can read more about our guest speakers and their work by visiting the links below. The video link to the webinar can also be found below or on the Harvard Global Orthopedics Collaborative YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to our channel to view upcoming webinars!
Dr. Mohammed Ali Al Bayati, MBCHB, Dch(ortho), FRCS Ed
Dr. Richard A. Gosselin, MD
UCSF Profile with publications
Dr. Roman Hayda, MD, COL MC U.S. Army (Ret)
University Orthopedics Profile with publications
Dr. Mark Price, MD, PhD, CAPT U.S. Navy (Res)
Massachusetts General Hospital Profile with publications