Approaching thankfulness

There’s a lot that we aren’t thankful for this year.

High risk of anaesthesia mortality; low chance of getting a C-section when you need one.

Warehouses full of inappropriate medical equipment, operating rooms bereft of the most basic, functional devices.

But if we only read the starkest statistics, told each other the bleakest stories, we’d give up.  Dress the turkey in our baggiest clothes and send it in to work, because what’s the point of trying.

Sorry to disappoint you, turkey.  Not one single person we have met this year has given up.

Far from it – we work with colleagues who are so dedicated, traveling hundreds of miles, working weeks melting into years on end to raise the standard of surgical care in their hospitals, that sometimes it’s hard to believe that the statistics are true.

OR_Balkh General Hospital_Afghanistan_2012 (2)

And we’ve had such generous support from donors around the world, challenging themselves in every forum to raise funds and awareness of the surgical safety crisis that, though it statistically remains “the neglected stepchild of global health” it feels like we’re part of an extended family devoted to ending that neglect.

NewJerseyMedicalSchool-Follies2013

It’s not Thanksgiving everywhere today, but we wanted to take the opportunity to join in the spirit.  Yes we’re dissatisfied with the way the world works, and yes there are things we want to change.  But we work with people every day who are doing just that: teaching, giving, sharing, saving (all the best parts of the Thanksgiving story and none of the bad ones), and we are humble and grateful for it.

To all our colleagues around the world who are celebrating today, cheers to turkey and thankfulness!  And to all those who are working to make surgery safer, and to bringing this life-saving, vital healthcare component to those who need it – thank you!

Thankful_Guinea

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