EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
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learned that the Association for the Advancement of
Medical Instrumentation had gown and drape stan-
dards for virus and blood imperviousness. Using these
documents, guidelines on OR instruments and sharps
management, and protocols for operating on patients
with known blood-borne diseases, Drs. Wren and
Kushner drafted recommendations and sent them to
the ACS leadership for review and dissemination.
The guidelines, posted at facs.org/surgeons/ebola/
surgical-protocol, contain recommendations on patient
selection, PPE, conduct of a surgical procedure, the
OR checklist, and specimen handling. These standards
were readily and enthusiastically adopted by the Col-
lege of Surgeons of East, Central, and South Africa—a
Timeless lessons learned
On January 14, 2016, the World Health Organization declared the end of the West African Ebola
outbreak. In all, the virus caused more than 11,300
deaths, including the deaths of more than 500 health
care professionals. The nearly two-year plague
taught us all some valuable lessons about how to
handle the next epidemic—lessons that are both
universal and timeless.
The fact of the matter is that humankind has
witnessed countless contagions throughout history,
and undoubtedly will experience more in the future.
Although the protocol that the ACS issued with the
leadership of Dr. Wren and Dr. Kushner was created
specifically in response to the Ebola epidemic in West
Africa, it can be applied to protect surgical team mem-
bers the next time a virus ravages a region of the world.
We also learned a good bit about working with
nongovernment agencies such as Surgeons OverSeas
and Partners in Health to ensure that adequate financial, material, and human resources are available.
The College is committed to working with these and
other organizations through Operation Giving Back to
stimulate international outreach to help nations facing
health care crises.
Finally, the contributing authors to Operation Ebola
teach us much about courage and the true meaning
of humanitarianism. These exemplars of professionalism put themselves at great personal risk to provide
care to patients in need. They inspire us to recommit
to giving back to our fellow man and to averting the
tragic deaths that Ms. Karwah and so many other West
African patients and providers experienced. ♦
At the height of the outbreak, which was
first recognized in March 2014, and in
response to growing reports that health
care professionals were becoming ill and
dying from the disease, two Fellows of
the ACS—Sherry M. Wren, MD, FACS,
FCS(ECSA), and Adam L. Kushner, MD,
MPH, FACS—sought to turn the situation
around and avert tragedies like this one.