Chris Giannou

War Surgeon

Christos Giannou is a Greek-Canadian war surgeon, who has served as chief surgeon at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). During his surgical career Giannou has offered in situ first aid services in several conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, and Somalia.

Initially trained as a cancer surgeon, Giannou developed an expertise in war surgery while practicing it in war zones to become widely renowned for his unfailing service as a humanitarian worker. After serving as medical coordinator of the ICRC campaign to ban anti-personnel landmines, he set up a hospital in Chechnya in 1996, where six of his colleagues were assassinated and then went to Geneva soon to become head surgeon at the ICRC. Currently, Giannou continues to perform missions for the ICRC and other humanitarian organisations and serves as surgical consultant at the Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Unit, as well as at the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre in Darwin, Australia. As an academic, he teaches disaster medicine and trauma surgery at the Universities of London and Athens.

Giannou has been awarded with the Star of Palestine (Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation) for his overall work while he was also inducted a Member of the Order of Canada in 1990. He has published the books “Besieged: a doctor’s story of life and death in Beirut”, “First aid in armed conflicts and other situations of violence”, and “War surgery: working with limited resources in armed conflict and other situations of  violence” (vol. 1). His life and work have become the theme of the Cineflix film “On the borders of Abyss”, which was aired by the Canadian public television under the title “War surgeon: Chris Giannou”.