|Name: Emma Plunkett
Event: Great Manchester Swim
Date: 2 July 2016
Lifebox is a regular at the Group of Anaesthetists in Training (GAT) Annual Scientific Meeting where this junior wing of our co-founders, the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) helps raise funds to support safer anaesthesia around the world.
We caught up with Emma recently and this is what we learned.
What motivated you to raise funds for Lifeboxes for Rio?
I wanted to raise money for Lifebox because it is a charity that is relevant to me. I spend my working days in Birmingham trying to ensure that anaesthesia and surgery are as safe as possible and I believe that everyone in the world should have access to safe surgery.
I’d love to go and work abroad and contribute to improving healthcare in other countries, but it’s just not logistically possible at the moment with three young children. So this is a way that I can help.
The Great Manchester Swim takes place in open water, what inspired you to take on this challenge?
I first tried open water swimming last year in preparation for my first triathlon. It was much harder than I expected. I like swimming but I don’t like being cold and it is completely different swimming in a lake in a wetsuit. The training was hard but I enjoyed the swim part of the triathlon, which was 750m. This year I wanted a different challenge and thought I would try a longer distance.
How are you preparing for the swim?
I don’t have as much time as I would like to prepare. I’ve been swimming at least once a week and running and cycling too. I’ve practised open water swimming at a local triathlon club too, and I’ve treated myself to a new wetsuit.
The GAT Committee promotes training, anaesthesia practice and communication amongst trainee anaesthetists. Why is this important and how did you get involved?
I stood for election in 2014 having been to the GAT ASM in Oxford in 2013 and met some of the committee. I was inspired by Sarah Gibb and Ben Fox who I met there and started to find out more about the committee. The AAGBI is an organisation dedicated to helping anaesthetists do their job to the best of their ability and ensuring that anaesthesia is as safe as possible.
Anaesthesia is the largest single specialty in secondary care, so there are lots of anaesthetic trainees. The demands on trainees are slightly different to other anaesthetists so it is important to have a group that can represent this group of doctors.
Why is it important for trainee anaesthetists to support safer anaesthesia and surgical care around the world?
We are fortunate in the UK that anaesthesia is so safe. It seems hard to believe that there are parts of the world where mortality is significantly higher. I think we need to do what we can to try to improve this and supporting Lifebox is actually an easy way to do this.
What does safe anaesthesia mean to you?
Safe means free from complications or adverse effects. Nothing is ever going to be 100% safe but we can work towards that. As well as physical complications, patients having anaesthesia and surgery are usually anxious and feeling vulnerable. Providing safe and compassionate care is a worthy endeavour and I feel lucky to be an anaesthetist.