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Video: Former Olympian, 68, touched by compassion and medical care from the United Arab Emirates

Dubai: A Ukrainian visitor to the United Arab Emirates and former athlete representing Russia at the 1972 Olympics is overwhelmed by the support she received in Dubai for total knee replacement surgery.

Larisa Strotskaia, 68, came to Dubai with her husband Boris Eremeev in December 2021 to spend Christmas with her children settled here. However, due to the current situation in her country, she stayed here.

Strostakaia had planned to see a doctor for her painful knee in Ukraine, but under the circumstances she found she couldn’t fly back and her osteoarthritis got progressively worse, so much so that she was unable to walk.

Struggling with debilitating pain, she ended up seeing orthopedic surgeons at the private Aster Hospital in Al Qusais.

Describing her ordeal, Strotskaia said: “We had come here to meet our children and grandchildren and were planning to return to Ukraine in March. However, the situation changed overnight.

Strotskaia, an agile athlete who led a very active life in her prime, developed severe knee pain and rigorously engaged in physical exercises to combat the disease.

“I used to swim, do Pilates and other physical exercises to stay strong. My doctor also advised me to stay active,” she said.

As her condition worsened over the past few months, she tried everything from taking painkillers to injections to physiotherapy for relief. “But nothing helped and my pain only got worse,” she said.

She said she had no health insurance and took help from the Ukrainian Consulate and was referred to Aster Hospital where she underwent preliminary checks under Dr. Raghavendra K. Sidappa, Surgeon specialist orthopedic.

Dr. Sidappa confirmed his worst fears.

“The osteoarthritis had affected Larissa’s knees so much that they were completely worn out. Surgery was the only viable option to relieve her of the pain.

Fast processing

Strotskaia’s bilateral total knee replacement surgery took place on April 16. She was able to walk the same day and was discharged on April 25 after intensive physiotherapy which helped her walk again without pain. “It was a complex operation, and it took four hours to complete the procedure. After the operation, she was fine and started walking the same day. We will continue to monitor her condition and proceed with the physiotherapy for a few more days,” Dr. Sidappa said.

A delighted Strotskaia thanked Aster’s team for their excellent care. She said it was also a humanitarian gesture as she had only been charged a small fee considering her situation. She can now walk without help, she added.

Artwork showing her as a young Olympian
Image Credit: Supplied

“We are deeply grateful to everyone who helped us during this difficult time in our lives,” said Strotskaia, who won several gold medals in sports events in her country and competed in the high jump event. length at the 1972 Olympics.

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