A couple of weeks ago, an unassuming envelope with a US stamp and a California zip code landed on the Lifebox doorstep.
Inside was a $250 cheque for the donation of a pulse oximeter to an OR on our waiting list. And another. And another. And another.
This quiet contribution from Northern California turned out to be the result of a wide and rallying initiative amongst the anesthesia departments of Kaiser Permanente, lead by retired Chief of Anesthesia Dr Helen O’Keeffe, and current Chief Dr David Brewster.
Over the last few months, anesthesiologists, CRNAs and other colleagues from across the state had written donations to Lifebox. In total, they raised more than $15,000 – enough to put 60 pulse oximeters into the hands of anesthesia providers who need them most.
Dr O’Keeffe, who is now retired but continues to volunteer her anesthesia services, told us why she was inspired to rally for Lifebox.
“I found out about Lifebox at the November 2011 San Diego meeting of the Alliance for Surgery and Anesthesia Presence (ASAP), where Dr. Angela Enright spoke in vivid detail about the Lifebox initiative.
The anesthesia needs in less developed countries are overwhelming. (I have experienced this first-hand with the Rotaplast cleft lip/palate trips). The Lifebox initiative seemed to me to dovetail completely with the long-term mission of the Kaiser-Permanente anesthesia community.
It really has a characteristically “anesthesia” flavor – define the nature and extent of the problem, check out possible solutions, take action. Anesthesia has been the leader in patient safety at home; this is just extending it abroad.
The Lifebox initiative is also extending the vision of the anesthesia care team, to all who take care of surgical patients anywhere in the world.
Knowing the quality and commitment of the Kaiser-Permanente anesthesia team, I am gratified but not surprised at such strong support for the Lifebox initiative.”
Lifebox is thrilled to stand with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Anesthesia Departments in working to close the global pulse oximetry gap, and grateful to everyone who donated. Thank you!