Imagine performing an anesthetic without a monitor. Which agents would you use? How would you gauge your patient’s anesthetic depth and hemodynamic stability? Now imagine the same scenario without a pulse oximeter.

Every year, 31 million operations are performed in the developing world without pulse oximetry, a tool considered the international standard since 2009. That’s the equivalent of one surgery taking place without a pulse oximeter every second of every day. The anesthesia-related mortality in these settings may be as much as a thousand times greater than what we experience when practicing anesthesia in the developed world. The magnitude of this problem seems abstract and large, but a concrete solution is in sight. The Lifebox Foundation estimates that this disparity can be eliminated through the donation of 70,000 pulse oximeters.

Beyond the provision of basic equipment, sustainable changes in...

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