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Feature BMJ Christmas Appeal

Unsafe surgery: make it zero

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 30 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7773
  1. Jane Feinmann, freelance journalist, London
  1. jane{at}

The BMJ has chosen Lifebox as its 2011 Christmas charity. Lifebox is working to ensure every operating theatre worldwide is equipped with a £160 pulse oximeter, the most important monitoring device in anaesthesia. Atul Gawande, speaking to Jane Feinmann, explains how you can help

How much does it cost to reduce mortality and morbidity in the world’s most poorly equipped operating theatres—while at the same time bringing the surgical teams into a community of excellence devoted to patient safety?

“The answer is smaller than most people realise,” says Atul Gawande, best selling author of The Checklist Manifesto and the lead adviser and authoritative face of WHO’s Safe Surgery Saves Lives campaign.

Just £160 (€186,$250) is the cost of a Lifebox pulse oximeter, a virtually unbreakable, operating room quality version gawande0312 iof the small non-invasive device that is commonplace in hospitals throughout the West. But until now, it has been an impossible extravagance in poor and middle income countries, available, if …

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