Freedom of choice, expressions of gratitude: Patient experiences of short-term surgical missions in Guatemala.


Journal Article

Lack of surgical care has been highlighted as a critical global health problem, and short-term medical missions (STMMs) have become a de facto measure to address this shortfall. Participation in STMMs is an increasingly popular activity for foreign medical professionals to undertake in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where their clinical skills may be in short supply. While there is emerging literature on the STMM phenomenon, patient experiences of surgical missions are underrepresented. This research addresses this gap through thirty-seven in-depth interviews with patients or caregivers who received care from a short-term surgical mission within the three years prior to the four-week data collection period in July and August 2013. Interviews were conducted in Antigua, Guatemala and nearby communities, and participants came from 9 different departments of the country. These first-hand accounts of health-seeking through a surgical mission provide important insights into the benefits and challenges of STMMs that patients encounter, including waiting time, ancillary costs, and access to care. Patient agency in care-seeking is considered within the pluralistic, privatized health care context in Guatemala in which foreign participants deliver STMM care.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Roche, S; Brockington, M; Fathima, S; Nandi, M; Silverberg, B; Rice, HE; Hall-Clifford, R

Published Date

  • July 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 208 /

Start / End Page

  • 117 - 125

PubMed ID

  • 29803969

Pubmed Central ID

  • 29803969

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-5347

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.05.021


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England