London to Paris in Lycra

What kind of surgical safety challenges do colleagues and their patients face in low-resource settings?

Being Iraqi-British and having lived and worked in Baghdad during the mid-nineties after the second Gulf War, when most medical equipment and drugs were scarce, we used to know about most of them only through books and journals. Practicing medicine was unsafe, challenging and stressful to say the least.

On my first day as an anaesthetic trainee, my Consultant told me ‘the first thing you should check for when the surgeon starts the incision is the colour of the blood’. Clearly he was trying to tell me that by checking the colour, we would have a rough idea of how well the patient was oxygenated, as there was no pulse oximetry available. Also ECG monitoring during the operation was kept only for high risk patients because of the very limited resources available at the time.

This is only one simple example out of thousands of how unsafe practices can jeopardise patients’ lives.

What inspired you to take on this journey for Lifebox®?

Going through a midlife crisis (well, clearly not all of us!). As a group of anaesthetists, we thought perhaps of combining our love for cycling (in lycra!) with our passion to help patients everywhere.

We wanted to take the plunge and cycle the 200 miles from London to Paris, as it will be a challenge and an activity through which we can raise awareness of this important issue.

Being privileged to live in a developed country like all of us here, sometimes makes us forgetful and tend to take things for granted.

What do you hope to achieve?

Unfortunately, the world is full of under resourced and deprived areas. Raising awareness of such an issue would certainly help children, men and women, young and old around the world by providing better and safer surgical /anaesthetic environments through generous donations. By achieving this cycle challenge, we are hoping together with your generosity we can contribute to the improvement of lives wherever and whenever necessary.

Lifebox helped to make surgery and anaesthesia safer for more than 10 million patients in more than 100 countries in the last six years only. Please make your donation through Lifebox and help them do more. Much appreciated!