I left my heart…

…in San Francisco,Arrow heart

where the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) held their annual conference this year.

Trolley car

“How beautiful!” everyone back home told you.


But you probably spent most of your time here:

Moscone Center

Never mind the early starts…

Coffee cup

…we  had a great time!

Dr Alex Hannenberg and cheque

But then, we had the best seat in the house – a beautiful booth alongside our friends at the ASA’s Global Humanitarian Outreach (GHO) committee:


With special shout out to the AAGBI’s Great Anaesthesia Bake:

Great Anaesthesia Bake

A Lifebox trustee on the front page of the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2013 Daily News:

Daily News_arrow

And a training workshop on how to implement safe surgical practice in a low-resource setting that inspired real conversation…

Lifebox workshop ASA

…so much conversation that we couldn’t get people to sit down again between sessions.

Lifebox workshop ASA 2We found a good home at a hospital in Nigeria for some oximeters:

Oximeter handover_ASA

and a friend to help carry them there!

Carrying oximeters

We felt like the sun was rising every time we saw this ad across the big screen…

Teleflex adand are enormously grateful to Teleflex, who gave a whole new purpose to trivia and presented us with this giant gameshow cheque.  It means real life change for surgical patients and providers in low-resource settings.

Teleflex presentation

(And comes it its own giant gameshow cheque box.)

Teleflex box

It felt good to work with the ASA as friends and allies for safer surgery, with our upcoming projects in Nicaragua and Guatemala, and the announcement of the First Annual National Lifebox Challenge led by the Residents Component.

Central American project

So even though we had to go home, we took the ASA’s advice –

Be Social

– and told you all about it!

It really was pretty.

SF from the air


The icing on the cake…

…is blue and red to map the anatomically-correct arteries of the heart, sculpted from madeira cake by a cardiac anaesthetist.

Great Ormond Street_heart

…is yellow and artfully piped above a simple Victoria Sandwich loaf in the shape of an oxylog for transport.

West Suffolk Hospital_oxylog transport ventilator…sits on a strawberry jam and butter filling, below the sugar paste head, feet and guts of a sugar paste woman having a (sugar paste) laparotomy. 

Colchester General Hospital_laparotomy patient

As you can see, the icing on the cake…doesn’t get any better than at the AAGBI’s Great Anaesthesia Bake!

Lifebox and cakes

And we’re incredibly grateful.  In the last six months, hospital departments around the U.K. have turned from scalpel to palette knife, autoclave to oven, with stunning effect – and just a hint of friendly competition – to raise money and awareness for the safe surgery mission of Lifebox.

Since we launched at GAT in April with a winning cake selected by guest judge consultant anaesthetist and Great British Bake off competitor Dr Daniele Bryden, more than 30 departments across the U.K. and Ireland have rolled up their sleeves and put their mark on the map.

Good luck navigating the country with this one:

Great Anaesthesia Bake map

It’s raining cake men.

They’ve borne up under every anaesthesia-and-cake-related pun under the sun, and they’ve done it with flair, skill and generosity.

And they’ve raised more than £15,000!

£15,000, from cake.

(Just take a moment to think about how much cake that is.)

York Teaching Hospital2

They’re multiplying.

“Lifebox just seemed a really simple and easy way of making a massive difference to people struggling to provide good care with minimal support and equipment,” explained one of the Great Bakers, of the initiative that proved so successful even British Telecom took note.

BT MyDonate story

“I can’t imagine giving an anaesthetic or managing a critically ill patient without a pulse oximeter,” said another colleague, “and for the cost of £160 neither should anyone else.”

The funds raised will provide oximeters and training in oximetry and the World Health Organization (WHO) Surgical Safety Checklist, making an immediate and long-term improvement to surgical care in countries where surgery is a critical but cruelly under-resourced part of healthcare.

South Sudan_surgery by torchlight

An operation in South Sudan takes place by torchlight, following an electrical outage during surgery

“We are so lucky in this country to have fantastic facilities and monitoring which allow us to do our jobs well and safely,” explained another participant.

“The anaesthetic bake off in support Lifebox, was a really fun way to raise money to buy this important equipment for anaesthetists throughout the world.”

The Great Anaesthesia Bake has been so popular that the AAGBI is extending the deadline – you now have until August 2014 to bake a difference (to your waistline, and to colleagues in low-resource setting countries), so please visit the AAGBI website for more information.

It also launches this month as the Great OR Bake in America, and we can’t wait to see what the land of the Food Network can mix up in the kitchen.  Now about that friendly competition…

 Captain America Cake_Margaret Ferrier__University Hospital Southampton - Copy