Landmines had been widely used across Cambodia, leading to soaring numbers of amputees. In 2015, Munjed went on a three day visit to Phnom Penh after being contacted by Dr Jim Gollogly who founded the Children’s Surgical Centre there.
The vast majority of the cases presented to Munjed were extremely complex—the sort of conditions rarely seen in more developed nations. Adults and children arrived with both upper and lower limbs seriously deformed by trauma and infections. The problem was- there was no artificial legs in Cambodia, Munjed and a team of prosthetic students managed to manufacture a knee from the door hinges and the aluminium tubing and were able to use prosthetic feet donated by Angelina Jolie. In three days Munjed performed four osseointegration procedures on rice farmers with above knee amputations, he operated on a 10-year old child with backward bending knees and helped a gentleman requiring a complex elbow reconstruction to render function in his upper limb.
Munjed travelled to Lebanon in 2016 for further outreach work at the request of the Lebanese Army. They had asked him to operate on two soldiers who’d each lost a leg above the knee during the destructive month-long war that had followed the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a border raid in 2006.Munjed carried out pro bono osseointegration operations on both the soldiers, with the plan for him to return to lead further clinics and surgery.
More recently in 2017 Munjed was invited by the then-Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi to return to his country of birth to assess and treat injured soldiers in Baghdad at Ibn Sina Hospital. After what started as a three day visit to assess the magnitude of the destruction among the people in Iraq, Munjed very quickly set up an agreement with the Iraqi government that saw Munjed and his team returning to Baghdad every three months to assist in surgery and training the local surgeons.
Hundreds of people were jostling in the reception area of Ibn Sina Hospital and had spilled over into the ground-floor corridor of the hospital. A few lucky ones had managed to snare a seat but most would stand—in many cases for hours—or sitting in wheelchairs trying to force their way to the front of the queue. Some of the stories of how these people were wounded were beyond anyone’s imagination.
The Iraqi doctors quickly learnt that Munjed is not only an Osseointegration surgeon but also a trauma, complex limb reconstruction and arthroplasty surgeon. To date the team have spent many sleepless nights operating on 471 cases including 130 osseointegration cases. This mission has now placed the country of Iraq as the second largest case cohort of osseointegration patients worldwide with still more to come.
In 2022 Munjed traveled to Ukraine with a team of Australian surgeons who performed over 20 extremely complex limb reconstructions and prosthetics operations at the hospital of the First Medical Association of Lviv. He returned in 2023 to teach Ukrainian surgeons the techniques required to help those with complex limb injuries as a result of the war.
Special acknowledgment to Patrick Weaver, author of “Going Back”
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