Anesthesiology Residents Take First Place in Lifebox National Challenge

A team of University of Miami /Jackson Memorial Hospital anesthesiology residents captured first place in the 2015 Lifebox National Challenge by raising $4,327 to purchase life-saving oximeters — small, noninvasive medical devices that measure the level of oxygen in a patient’s blood — for surgeries in developing countries.

“Our department has a broad commitment to charitable endeavors and serving the international community,” said David Lubarsky, M.D., M.B.A., the Emanuel M. Papper Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology. “As the largest anesthesiology training program in the U.S., we work as a unified team to support better health care in developing nations.”

Virtually all of the 90 residents in the University of Miami /Jackson Memorial Hospital Department of Anesthesiology program participated in the Lifebox Challenge, according to David S. Greschler, M.D., chief resident, who led the campaign with Chad Parvus-Teichmann, M.D, a second-year resident, and Shane Cherry, M.D., a third-year resident.

“We heard about this life-saving charitable cause last year at the American Society of Anesthesiologists conference in New Orleans,” said Greschler. “We were already involved in other international humanitarian projects, and wanted to get involved with Lifebox, as well.”

During the year, the residents organized a series of fundraising efforts involving Miller School faculty and staff, as well, such as creating and selling lanyards for their identification badges.

“Next year we plan to raise even more for this important program,” said Greschler.

Overall, the 2015 campaign by the American Society of Anesthesiologists raised $25,000 — enough to cover the cost of 100 Lifebox pulse oximeters. According to the World Health Organization, about 31 million surgical operations take place worldwide every year without pulse oximeters, putting patients at high risk for complications.

“An oximeter is the single most important piece of equipment in the operating room,” said Lubarsky. “They monitor the critical life-sustaining level of oxygen in the blood. Their use has dramatically reduced the rate of complications in the U.S. Now, we can leverage that success by helping our colleagues in low resource settings to safeguard their patients.”

Lifebox grew out of a global initiative by the World Health Organization to make surgery safer across the globe. In 2008, an international group of anesthesiologists, nurses and surgeons identified essential safety checks that should be performed in every operating room. These checks, designed to prevent errors, raise standards and save lives, included making pulse oximeters available to monitor patient conditions.

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