OBJECTIVE: The primary objective was to describe the level of surgical trainee autonomy during non-trauma emergency laparotomy (NTEL) operations in Rwanda and South Africa. The secondary objective was to identify potential associations between trainee autonomy, and patient mortality and reoperation. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This was a prospective, observational study of NTEL operations at 3 teaching hospitals in South Africa and Rwanda over a 1-year period from September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2018. The study included 543 NTEL operations performed by the acute care and general surgery services on adults over the age of 18 years. RESULTS: Surgical trainees led 3-quarters of NTEL operations and, of these, 72% were performed autonomously in Rwanda and South Africa. Notably, trainee autonomy was not significantly associated with reoperation or mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Trainees were able to gain autonomous surgical experience without impacting mortality or reoperation outcomes, while still providing surgical support in a high-demand setting.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the University of Cape Town International Collaborative Research Project Grant.
© 2021 Association of Program Directors in Surgery
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