Humanitarian Surgical Missions: Guidelines for Successful Anesthesia Support

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Fitzgerald BM, Nagy CJ, Goosman EF, Gummerson MC, Wilson JE 17(4). 56 - 62 (Journal Article)

Many anesthesiologists and CRNAs are provided little training in preparing for a humanitarian surgical mission. Furthermore, there is very little published literature that outlines how to plan and prepare for anesthesia support of a humanitarian surgical mission. This article attempts to serve as an in-depth planning guide for anesthesia support of humanitarian surgical missions. Recommendations are provided on planning requirements that most anesthesiologists and CRNAs do not have to consider on routinely, such as key questions to be answered before agreeing to support a mission, ordering and shipping supplies and medications, travel and lodging arrangements, and coordinating translators in a host nation. Detailed considerations are included for all the phases of mission planning: advanced, mission-specific, final, mission-execution, and postmission follow-up planning, as well as a timeline in which to complete each phase. With the proper planning and execution, the anesthetic support of humanitarian surgical missions is a very manageable task that can result in an extremely satisfying sense of accomplishment and a rewarding experience. The authors suggest this article should be used as a reference document by any anesthesia professional tasked with planning and supporting a humanitarian surgical mission.

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