Why U.S.-Trained Surgeons Often Aren't Ready For Humanitarian Work Abroad

A study compares surgeries performed by Doctors Without Borders volunteers in the developing world with those taught to U.S. surgical residents — and finds "a dramatic mismatch."
Health workers from Doctors Without Borders give emergency treatment to a newborn baby in Sierra Leone in 2014. / Lam Yik Fei / Getty Images

Many young American surgeons have a strong desire to do humanitarian work overseas. But their good intentions usually don't match up with the skills, such as cesarean section deliveries and fixing broken bones, that they'll need in poor countries.

And that means U.S. general surgeons, eager to do charitable work around the globe, may miss out on chances to help some of the neediest patients in the world.

"I see all these young trainees," says , professor of

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