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KyANA News
Anesthesia Abroad by Kayla Berry
Anesthesia Abroad by Kayla Berry
Posted on: Thursday, January 21, 2016

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) provide quality anesthesia and care to patients not only in our country, but also abroad through surgical missions. One of Taylor Regional Hospital’s finest CRNAs, Jennifer Boils of Campbellsville, Kentucky, has had the opportunity to deliver care to citizens of Guamiaca, Honduras on two different occasions. On her first surgical mission trip to Honduras in June 2014, Boils along with her surgical team performed 87 operations. In March 2015, they were able to aid citizens through 60 various procedures. Boils states, “The location that I traveled to is very fortunate in that there is a 24-hour clinic staffed with Honduran physicians. Then, there are multiple surgical mission teams that travel there throughout the year.” Boils has provided anesthesia for numerous surgical services in Honduras including ENT, general, gynecology, and urology. Other specialties have included dentistry, orthopedics, and ophthalmology.

Boils explains that the anesthesia methods and techniques she implements in Honduras are basically the same as in the United States, but with a limited drug supply and refurbished equipment. General, sedation, and spinal anesthesia are typically the types of anesthesia used during these surgical cases. However, she has found that Honduran patients require minimal narcotics and are discharged much sooner than U.S. patients.

Although the cultural and language barrier is the greatest challenge, there are excellent Honduran translators available. Yet, Boils states that it is difficult to translate culture, and these experiences have shown her that people from various cultures can have very different values. Although Honduran citizens survive with very little, they are a very happy people and are thankful for the mission team taking the time to visit them and care for them.

Providing anesthesia and analgesia on these surgical missions comes with great reward. Along with surgical care, other ministries include evangelism teams, construction teams, veterinary teams, women’s and children’s ministries, water ministry, and rice and beans ministry. Boils says, “We are a very evangelism-driven team…The most rewarding part for me, personally, is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to people for the very first time! Being able to provide physical care is rewarding, but the main focus is sharing Jesus with the lost!”  

Boils and a team of approximately 48 members are planning on returning to Honduras this upcoming March. The number of team members ultimately depends on the number of surgeons and experienced staff available. Surgical mission trips to Honduras have typically included two to three nurse anesthetists and two student registered nurse anesthetists. While Boils hopes to someday provide anesthesia care to patients in other countries, she says for now, this is where she belongs.