The Archive of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989

A Catch-22 December 1989, Groundhog-Day Production. Presenting the Personal Research & Scholarship of Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D.

“A Romanian soldier whose crippled leg was saved by a pioneering operation in Britain, yesterday walked with hardly a limp. Sergeant Orlando Draga, aged 19, was struck by a high-velocity exploding bullet during an ambush by supporters of the late President Ceausescu [on 27 December]” The Guardian (and The Times), 17 March 1990


From The Times, 17 March 1990 (attempted to correct glitches in text, where possible):

By Thomson Prentice Science Correspondent A soldier wounded in the Romanian revolution has been helped to walk again by a unique operation by surgeons in a London hospital. Sergeant Orlando Draga, aged 19, was crippled by a high-velocity, exploding bullet while defending a munitions store in Bucharest. The bullet shattered the sciatic nerve, the main nerve in the thigh, in his left leg. He was flown to Britain for advanced micro vascular surgery after an appeal to the Department of Health from the Romanian Ministry of Defence. The operation was carried out by Professor Angus McGrouther, Britain’s’ only professor of plastic surgery, at University College Hospital, London. “He was lucky not to have bled to death after being shot,” Professor McGrouther said yesterday. “His leg was paralyzed and he would have been crippled for life had he not received this surgery.” The sciatic nerve controls muscles in the thigh and provides sensation to the sole of the foot. In the operation, a S (?) in length of sural nerve in the calf was removed, cut into sections and transplanted into the gap in the sciatic nerve. Removal of part of the sural nerve does not seriously impair walking ability. The surgery, performed with the aid of an operating microscope, involved matching thousands of fibres within •ssot ..f t’VS f €■ (?) Sergeant Draga, who should be walking unaided within six months, being examined by Professor McGrouther yesterday the sciatic nerve. It was the first time the technique was used in Britain for a bullet wound, and the work was funded by the hospital’s Phoenix Appeal, a charity which sponsors Professor McGrouther’s research programme. Five weeks after the operation Sergeant Draga can move his ankles and toes and feeling has returned to his feet Doctors predict he will be able to walk without crutches within six months. “Every day I feel better,” the soldier said through an interpreter. “I want to thank the professor and all the doctors and nurses.” Professor McGrouther has been invited to Romania to teach (?) his reconstructive surgery techniques.


This appears to be the victim/patient in question:

Orlando C-tin Draga

Orlando Constantin Draga



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