Do plans and execution agree in a humanitarian medical mission?

David M Doman, James A Blair, Matthew A Napierala, Mickey S Cho
Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 2011, 20 (1): 67-73
There is a significant need for orthopaedic care in developing countries. For the past 10 years, the United States Army has supported annual orthopaedic hand surgery humanitarian missions to Honduras. The goal of this article is to compare the premission planning to the realities of mission execution to provide a template for future missions. Premission planning began 1 year before the mission. Based on previous missions, supplies were brought for 50 surgical cases. The mission began with 1 preoperative clinic day followed by 8 operative days and 1 postoperative clinic day. Of the 99 prescreened patients, 65 were indicated for surgery. A total of 58 surgeries were performed using innovative methods to stretch available supplies. A multidisciplinary and multination concerted effort is required for a successful humanitarian medical mission. A premission plan is critical prior to arrival and a contingency plan must be in place for missing mission-critical items.

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