Patient Larisa Strotskaia-1651042070095
Larisa Strotskaia (third from left) walked the same day after ER surgery for total bilateral knee replacement. She is seen here with Dr Rahgavendra Sidappa and other members of Aster Hospital, Al Qusais.

Dubai: A Ukrainian visitor to the UAE and former athlete representing Russia in the 1972 Olympic Games is overwhelmed by the support she received in Dubai for a total knee replacement surgery.

Larisa Strotskaia, 68, had come to Dubai with her husband Boris Eremeev in December 2021 to spend Christmas with her children who are settled here. However, owing to the current situation back home, she remained here.

Strostakaia had planned to see a doctor for her painful knee in Ukraine, but under the circumstances, she realised that she could not fly back and her osteoarthritis worsened progressively, so much that she was unable to walk.

Struggling with debilitating pain, she ended up consulting orthopaedic 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 heydays, developed severe knee pain and was rigorously engaged in physical exercises to combat the condition.

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

When her condition worsened in recent months, she tried everything from taking pain killers to injections to doing physiotherapy to get some relief. “But nothing helped and my pain only got worse,” she said.

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

Dr Sidappa confirmed her worst fears.

“Osteoarthritis had affected Larissa’s knees so badly that they were completely worn out. Surgery was the only viable option to get her relief from pain.”

Fast treatment

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 extensive physiotherapy that helped her walk pain free again. “It was a complex surgery, and it took four hours to complete the procedure. Post-surgery she did well and started walking on the same day. We will continue monitoring her condition and proceed with physiotherapy for a few more days,” said Dr Sidappa.

The overjoyed Strotskaia thanked the Aster team for their excellent care. She said it was also a humanitarian gesture as she was charged only a nominal fee given her circumstances. She can now walk unassisted, she added.

Ukrainian visitor Larisa Strotskaia-1651042072236
Artwork showing her as a young Olympian Image Credit: Supplied

“We are profoundly thankful to all those who have helped us during this tough time of our lives,” said Strotskaia, who has won several gold medals in athletic events in her country and has participated in the long jump event in the 1972 Olympic Games.