2021 brought twice higher stress levels to surgery wards. Neurosurgeon Grigore Zapuhlyh

With positive and negative moments, 2021 is coming to an end and what it generated leaves an imprint on the destiny of the person, family, the country. IPN spoke with those who care and have what to say about victories and failures, hopes and letdowns, achievements and losses. How 2021 was for the man and neurosurgeon Grigore Zapuhlîh.

The pandemic marked a lot the neurosurgery sector too. “The work in conditions of twice higher stress levels left an imprint on us in 2021. After years of work in normal conditions, our work became extremely focused as were to avoid cases of COVID-19. We had cases when neurosurgical patients got infected with COVID-19 and we thus could not operate them or operated them in fear, dressed in protective suits, with visors, etc. Ultimately, five doctors who operated patients got infected. I also had COVID-19. We all recovered from the disease, including that patient,” said Grigore Zapuhlyh, director of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Institute “Diomid Gherman”.

In spite of all the difficulties created by the pandemic, in 2021 the neurosurgeons operated the same number of patients, with the same neurosurgical diseases, with rare diseases, such as stroke, brain cancer, brain injury and others. Moreover, in 2021 there were performed a series of new operations, including in cooperation with counterparts from abroad, who came to Chisinau despite the pandemic”.

“The fact that we developed endovascular neurosurgery is the most important moment of 2021. It is a minimally invasive surgery method with minimal trauma for patient, with fast convalescence. Incisions for treating a patient are no longer made. We enter the most concealed places of the human brain through vessels. Not long ago, a person could lose speech and have half of the body paralyzed owing to a thrombus and this could live for 20-30 years more in a state of handicap. Now this no longer happens as we can remove the thrombus swiftly. We weekly have by five-six operations of such a kind (on brain, e.n.). And these persons later have a normal life. It is a miracle indeed. This method started to be used in Chisinau after the necessary equipment for a surgery ward of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Institute was purchased earlier this year. “We came closer to the international standards and will be able to serve our patients at very low prices compared with the Western countries,” stated Grigore Zapuhlyh.

He noted that another accomplishment this year was the training of medical staff of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Institute abroad. Young specialists were detached to a number of world medical centers in Switzerland, Moscow, Kiev, Paris, Montpellier, Buffalo in the U.S. and they learned from foreign mates, brought home knowledge and implemented a system, laid the basis for implementing new treatment methods. The surgeries performed in Chisinau (that are highly appreciated abroad, e.n.) already became a routine.

Currently, about 1,350 robots “work” in world neurosurgery. This is a robotic hand that is controlled from a computer by a bioengineer and a neurosurgeon who remove a tumor or perform another task with its assistance. “We intend to purchase such a robot through the agency of the Ministry of Health. We will have a hand that does not tremble with fear and that works safely and very precisely,” said Grigore Zapuhlyh.

“Functional neurosurgery is the next stage in our activity. Such diseases as epilepsy, Parkinson, cerebral palsy and very seruoius illnesses could be treated by surgery when medicines are not effective.”

Grigore Zapuhlyh has worked in medicine since 1979, when he was a student at the State Medical Institute of Chisinau. In 1982, he started work in neurosurgery. He is a Doctor Habilitate (1998) and was awarded the Order of the Republic for his accomplishments in neurosurgery.

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