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Where There Is No Trauma System: A Successful Patient Evacuation in the Republic of Kiribati

  • Carmen A. Cueto (a1), John Tekanene (a2), Teraria Bangao (a2), Baranika Toromon (a2), Adam L. Kushner (a3) (a4) and Lydia Lam (a1) (a5)...


Research is lacking around how best to approach trauma care in resource poor settings, particularly in remote areas such as the islands of the South Pacific. Without examples of successful treatment of high-risk cases in these settings, countries are unable to move forward with developing policies and standardized procedures for emergency care.

The Republic of Kiribati is a Pacific Island nation composed of 33 islands spanning over 2,000 miles in the central Pacific Ocean. With the only hospital located on Kiritimati Island and inadequate boat transportation, the government recently committed to providing an aircraft for patients to receive appropriate medical care. In 2016, a 20-year-old female, primigravida, on a neighboring island, failed to progress in labor for 24 hours and needed an emergency cesarean section. A radio call was made to Kiritimati, and a team consisting of a general surgeon, nurse, and a laboratory technician was dispatched. The patient was brought to the local clinic and flown to Kiritimati where a team was prepared to perform the cesarean section.

The successful patient evacuation emphasizes the importance of a dedicated health care team, government commitment, and the constant quality communication when approaching feasibility of trauma and emergency care. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;page 1 of 3).


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Lydia Lam, 2051 Marengo St., IPT C5L100, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (e-mail:


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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
  • URL: /core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness
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