Dr. Chris Spencer, CA2, and Dr. George Politis, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology traveled to Nicaragua with Operation Smile as part of the Anesthesia care team on a medical mission trip. Below Dr. Spencer shares some reflections about the experience.


In November I had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Nicaragua with Operation Smile. After one day of education, one day of patient screening, and one day of OR setup we were ready. Our team consisted of anesthesiologists from the UK, Norway, Sweden, and the US. We faced limited resources, power outages, and communication barriers, and I learned that creativity, resourcefulness, and patience were our most important assets. Over the following 5 days we successfully performed over 120 operations and anesthetics for adults and children as young as 3 months of age with cleft lips and palates. The patients and families were incredibly grateful! Working with volunteers from all over the world to help so many people in an unfamiliar setting was an unforgettable experience, and I will certainly be looking for more opportunities like this in the future!