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Operation Ebola

, 120 pages

16 halftones

February 2017



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Operation Ebola

Surgical Care during the West African Outbreak


One of the horrors of the West African Ebola outbreak was the decimation of the area’s already thin ranks of surgeons. As Ebola spread, health facilities closed, and some doctors—afraid of catching the disease—left the region or stopped performing surgery. Many of those who stayed contracted Ebola and died. As the pool of doctors available—and willing—to perform surgery dwindled, treatable conditions unrelated to the disease, including appendicitis, unrepaired hernias, stomach ulcers, and obstructed labor, went untreated with devastating results.

Drs. Sherry M. Wren and Adam L. Kushner both worked extensively with surgeons in Ebola-ravaged countries during the 2014 outbreak. Recognizing that there was no guidance available for how to perform surgery under such dangerous conditions, Wren and Kushner collaborated to create official guidelines for safe surgical procedures in cases of confirmed or suspected Ebola. Operation Ebola documents these procedures and describes in vivid detail the conditions that faced both local surgeons and the international surgeons who came to help.

Bringing together a group of medical experts from Sierra Leone and across the globe to tell their stories and offer hard-learned lessons, this book is a riveting first-hand account of performing surgery in under-resourced parts of the world. Through these health workers’ eyes, readers will come to understand what it feels like to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while operating, what dangers remain when using PPE, how to construct an Ebola maternity ward, and how to give anesthesia to patients during a time of Ebola. A succinct and gripping exploration of how an outbreak can affect surgical care and the surgeons who provide it, this book will interest medical professionals, students, policy makers, donors, and anyone who cares about Ebola or global health.

Contributors: Kathryn P. Barron, Håkon A. Bolkan, Séverine Caluwaerts, Joseph Forrester, Andrew M. R. Hall, Eva Hancilles, Mark J. Harris, Angela Hewlett, David B. Hoyt, Daniel W. Johnson, Thaim B. Kamara, Songor S. J. Koedoyoma, Michael Koroma, Adam L. Kushner, Marta Lado, Ronald C. Marsh, Andrew J. Michaels, Mohamed G. Sheku, Sherry M. Wren

Sherry M. Wren, MD, FACS, FCS(ECSA), is a professor of surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, where she is the director of global surgery for the Center for Innovation in Global Health. The director of clinical surgery at the Palo Alto Veterans Health Care System, she has worked in low-resources settings around the world. Adam L. Kushner, MD, MPH, FACS, is an associate in the Department of International Health and a faculty member in the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The founding director of Surgeons OverSeas, he has provided surgical care to patients in conflict, post-conflict, and disaster settings around the world. He is the editor of Operation Health: Surgical Care in the Developing World and Operation Crisis: Surgical Care in the Developing World during Conflict and Disaster.

"A compelling examination of the challenges related to providing surgical care in the midst of the Ebola epidemic, Operation Ebola is the first book of its kind. It will appeal to anyone interested in or faced with the disease."

"From the development of guidelines for providing surgical care for Ebola-positive patients in the US to providing obstetric care to women in Sierra Leone, the presented details in this book offer a firsthand account of providers’ care during this outbreak. From these experiences, health care providers across the globe learned valuable lessons on how to treat and care for people in EVD stricken areas, including those testing positive for EVD. The writing style is personal and straightforward, presenting accounts of the devastation of the EVD outbreak. This book is a must-read for all persons with an interest in EVD and international health care during an emerging crisis. Recomended."

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