J Med Ethics 39:51-54 doi:10.1136/medethics-2012-100610
  • Brief reports

Ethical considerations in targeted paediatric neurosurgery missions

  1. Rahul Jandial2
  1. 1Department of Neurosurgery, Kaiser, Portland, Oregon, USA
  2. 2Division of Neurosurgery, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rahul Jandial, Division of Neurosurgery–MOB 2001A, City of Hope National Medical Center, 1500 E Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, USA
  • Received 16 March 2012
  • Revised 16 August 2012
  • Accepted 22 August 2012
  • Published Online First 21 September 2012


Within the context of global health development approaches, surgical missions to provide care for underserved populations remain the least studied interventions with regard to their methodology. Because of the unique logistical needs of delivering operative care, surgical missions are often described solely in terms of cases performed, with a paucity of discourse on medical ethics. Within surgery, subspecialties that serve patients on a non-elective basis should, it could be argued, create mission strategies that involve a didactic approach and the propagation of sustainable surgical care. The ethical considerations have yet to be described for paediatric neurosurgical outreach missions. We present here the perspectives of neurosurgeons who have participated in surgical outreach missions in Central America, South America, Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa from the vantage point of both the visiting mission team and the host team that accommodates the mission efforts.