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A group of Quebec's doctors are providing virtual training to Ukraine for basic life support and emergency life-saving procedures that can be done by non-surgeons.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

A group of Quebec doctors have created a series of virtual training materials on life-saving procedures for Ukrainian health-care workers suddenly working in a war zone.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Dan Deckelbaum, who is the surgical and procedural skills director at McGill University’s Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning in Montreal, said the project was driven by Ukrainian physicians, who are now facing thousands of patients with life-threatening injuries.

“These types of hostile environment are suddenly calling upon a significant number of health-care workers,” he said. “This can play an important role in making sure the procedures are done to one’s best ability.”

Deckelbaum’s team recorded a series of video tutorials after he was contacted by colleagues in Ukraine when the conflict erupted at the end of February, he said.

The multimedia content offers 10 technical videos and 10 lectures – each between three and 20 minutes – that teach basic life support techniques and emergency life-saving procedures that can be performed by non-surgeons, including chest tube insertion and airway ventilatory management.

“If you’re a cardiologist or dermatologist, you are a very good physician but you don’t know how to take care of injuries, because that’s not your area of expertise,” Deckelbaum said. “What we have done with McGill University simulation centre is creating those videos of how to perform essential procedures for emergency and trauma care.”

The videos were filmed in a simulated operating room, translated from English to Ukrainian and delivered in less than 24 hours.

Dr. Junko Tokuno, a thoracic surgeon who helped to film and edit the videos, has been working on developing similar virtual training for the past six months for medical students at McGill University. She said her experience allowed her to put together the content rapidly once the request came in.

“In these situations, where many patients are in danger and for doctors, there’s no time to refer to books,” she said in an interview Sunday. “Videos can show exactly how procedures need to be done, with audio and visual guidance.”

Tokuno said the videos are easy to distribute everywhere in Ukraine, “as long as they have secured electricity and internet.”

“There is a massive number of casualties and injuries every day, every moment,” she said. “Resources are limited, the number of doctors who have experience with treatments for seriously injured patients is limited.”

“We wanted to instruct physicians to be able to save lives.”

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