A quick sit down with Dr Carolina Haylock-Loor

Dr Carolina Haylock-Loor facilitating a Checklist workshop in San Salvador, El Salvador. ©Lifebox/Scott Streble

Dr Carolina Haylock-Loor is a Honduran Anesthesiologist, Intensive Care Physician and expert in Interventional Pain Medicine. She is also the President of the Honduran Society for Anesthesia – Sociedad Hondurena de Anestesiología, Reanimacíon y Dolor as well as a Council Member of the World Federation of the Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA).

To say she has many strings to her bow is a huge understatement.

Carolina is currently Lifebox’s Regional Programme Lead for our partnership with the IZUMI Foundation – working across four Central American countries to improve the safety of surgery and anesthesia.

In February 2019, she played an integral part in helping us to coordinate our first Checklist and Safer Surgical Instruments workshops in El Salvador.

We were lucky enough to catch Carolina during her busy schedule to talk safer surgery in Central America.

Why did you become an anesthesiologist?

As a physician, I wanted to take perioperative care of patients who were in a very vulnerable state. It’s a holistic medical speciality that includes not only anesthesia, but intensive care, emergency medicine, pain management.

What does safe surgery mean to you?

Safe surgery for me, must be a compound phrase: Safe Anesthesia-Surgery, you can’t talk about safe surgery if you forget to pair anesthesia to it. Safe surgery doesn’t exist without safe anesthesia. And it’s very important not to assume that it is always implicit in safe surgery.

Safe Anesthesia-Surgery must be safe, accessible and affordable to everyone.

What are the biggest obstacles to achieving safe surgery in your country?

From working experience, the three main factors are present: lack of physician anesthesia providers, lack of safety and quality in medicines and lack of infrastructures like monitors and equipment.

What difference will the Lifebox project make to safer surgery in your region?

Lifebox’s workshops in Central America aim to improve the safety of anesthesia and surgery in the region (Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador) through fostering​ ​regional skill​ ​sharing​ ​and​ ​training of local surgical teams to strengthen the use of Surgical Safety Checklist in public hospitals, implementing skills and knowledge related to surgical instruments sterilisation and maintenance.

Why are these workshops in Central America important for improving healthcare in the region?

They are important as they give us the capacity to improve safety culture, which is so needed within Central American health systems.  Safety for the patient but also for a safe practice with better communication and teamwork within the OR personnel.

What did you enjoy most from the workshops?

From seeing the teamwork scenarios, to the different strategies of adapting the Checklist to different environments, in general, everything was enjoyable!

What are your hopes for the participants who were in the workshops for the future?

Local problems need local solutions. I hope the workshops have empowered anesthesiologists of the region to implement strategies for strengthening the use of the surgical safety checklist.