Short-term surgical trips: local collaboration and its effects on complications and patient satisfaction.
Pediatric surgery international
PURPOSE: Short-term surgical missions can provide communities in need with desired expertise; however, it is uncertain who will manage the complications after visiting experts leave. Poor outcomes, decreased patient satisfaction, and tension on the healthcare system develop when local providers, often excluded from the initial patient care, are unable to cope with subsequent morbidity.
METHODS: Two-year retrospective review of pediatric general, plastic, and reconstructive surgery, and urology cases performed by a relief organization in the developing world. Case complexity and postoperative complications were analyzed. Phone interviews conducted with patients/families to quantify postoperative outcomes and satisfaction.
RESULTS: 474 surgeries were performed on pediatric patients with 60% response rate. Respondents stratified into three levels of complexity: 159 simple, 72 intermediate, and 54 advanced surgeries. Six (2.1%) high-level complications occurred. No association between the complexity of the surgery and the occurrence of a complications. 83.5% were satisfied with outcomes and > 92% were happy with the provided support.
CONCLUSION: Facilitating visiting and local surgeons performing cases together increases the expertise of local providers, strengthens infrastructure, and establishes clear follow-up. Despite complications, patients and families continued to recommend care to family and friends by the relief organization and were happy with support from local providers. Engaging local providers is the gold-standard for short-term trips.
Al-Hadidi A, Alslaim H, Ghawanmeh M, Alfarajat F, Habra H, Brahmamdam P, Novotny N. Short-term surgical trips: local collaboration and its effects on complications and patient satisfaction. Pediatr Surg Int. 2020 Aug;36(8):977-981. doi: 10.1007/s00383-020-04667-3. Epub 2020 May 16. PMID: 32415355.