Alex, with his mother, Olga. SUR
Mijas resident injured in war in Ukraine to have leg reconstructed at a Malaga hospital

Mijas resident injured in war in Ukraine to have leg reconstructed at a Malaga hospital

Ukrainian soldier, Alex Kharkevych, is due to arrive in Malaga on Friday in a medicalised plane for treatment at the Virgen de la Victoria Hospital


Thursday, 8 December 2022

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A long-term Ukrainian resident of Mijas who was called up to fight for his country against Russian troops, is to be flown back to the Costa del Sol for treatment after he stepped on a mine which destroyed his left leg.

Oleg Kharkevych, known as Alex, is a 40-year-old gardener who has lived in the town for two decades with his mother, Olga, son and older brother. Last spring, he received a letter from the Ukrainian authorities, and left for military action in May.

Tragedy struck a few days ago when Alex stepped on a landmine in Donetsk. The explosion shattered his leg and he is in urgent need of specialised care. After being stabilised Alex was transferred to the military hospital in Lviv, near the Polish border. But this facility, which has about 3,000 patients, does not have the means to treat Alex's case. Faced with the possibility of a transfer to a hospital in Poland, Olga, his mother, contacted Vicente de la Varga, a specialist in sports traumatology and regenerative medicine, and director of the CAMDE trauma clinic where she was a patient.

De la Varga began to pull strings to get the injured man transferred to Malaga, which is expected to happen on Friday, 9 December. De la Varga said: "I decided to call on my friends in sport. I spoke to my colleague Juan Carlos Pérez-Frías, head of the medical services at Malaga football club, and with the legal administrator of the Blue and Whites' club, José María Muñoz. He told me, without yet knowing how it was going to be organised or what it was going to cost, that I could count on them for whatever was needed. Antonio Jesús López Nieto, president of Unicaja, told me exactly the same thing.

De la Varga added: "We contacted several ambulance companies and as soon as the budget arrived, surprise surprise: it was already more than covered with family and friends".

The next step was to offer Alex the best therapeutic alternative and to find a hospital where he could be admitted. To do this, De la Varga contacted the deputy minister for Health and Consumer Affairs of the Junta, Miguel Ángel Guzmán. His response was that the Andalusian government has a mandate to receive and treat any refugee coming from Ukraine, and he told them to choose the hospital in which to admit the injured man.

The paid-for medical aircraft will fly Alex to Malaga from Krakow, after he is transferred to the Polish city by ambulance. Once in Malaga, the injured soldier will be treated at the orthopaedic surgery and traumatology department of the Virgen de la Victoria Hospital, whose head is Plácido Zamora. Surgery on his leg will take place in the osteosynthesis and reconstructive surgery unit, headed by specialists Alfonso Queipo de Llano and Borja Delgado.

Alex is being accompanied by his 64-year-old mother, Olga. Alex's sister, Halyna, who lives in Fuengirola, told SUR: "The whole family is looking forward to seeing Alex as soon as possible". Halyna said her mother moved to Malaga first and was then followed by her children. "We all liked Malaga and we stayed here," she said, adding that her 11-year-old nephew, Andriy, Alex's son, is looking forward to his father's return because he misses him so much.

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