Okanagan nurse returns from refugee assistance in Bangladesh

Click to play video: 'Okanagan nurse aids refugees in Bangladesh'
Okanagan nurse aids refugees in Bangladesh
Okanagan nurse aids refugees in Bangladesh – Jan 16, 2018

More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar and many were injured along the way to safety in Bangladesh.

Crystal Grymaloski, a Vernon critical care nurse, was recruited by Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization, to assist with refugee medical needs.

The 34-year-old spent three weeks over the Christmas season in Bangladesh caring for patients recovering from surgery.

READ MORE: At least 6,700 Rohingya killed in one month of violence: Doctors Without Borders

“Nine nurses total. Four from the U.S., three from Canada and two from the Philippines while I was there,” Grymaloski said of the group she joined in Bangladesh Dec. 8 to Jan 3.

A mother and child at a Samaritan's Purse care unit in Bangladesh. Contributed: Samaritan's Purse/ Global Okanagan
A young boy at a Samaritan's Purse care unit in Bangladesh. Contributed: Samaritan's Purse/ Global Okanagan
Crystal Grymaloski, center, at a Samaritan's Purse care unit in Bangladesh. Contributed/ Global Okanagan

Grymaloski was part of the Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team in a paid nursing position, taking care of people with orthopedic injuries.

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“Some of them were just people falling, breaking bones, some gunshot wound injuries that were sustained while they were fleeing their villages,” she said of the patients at the care units.

One young boy presented with a serious head injury sustained while being dragged behind a motorcycle.

“He had quite extensive head injury. Lots of tissue missing,” Grymaloski said.

After just five days of wound care in the clinic, the boy was able to recover.

READ MORE: Aung San Suu Kyi hails military probe into Rohingya mass grave

She said the experience was an eye opener, but mostly toward better understanding the character of the Rohingya people.

“I was just so impressed and moved by how lovely the Rohingya people were both to us and to each other,” she said.

Grymaloski remains on-call for Samaritan’s Purse should her services again be required.

To donate to Samaritan’s Purse efforts in Bangladesh, visit their website here.


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