Austere environments (post-disasters, areas of conflict and chronic humanitarian crises) are not intuitive. Even the most experienced volunteer can meet unexpected challenges in places in the world where water is limited, electricity unavailable and security is not certain. Historically, volunteers have found themselves unprepared and at personal risk of becoming a casualty or not being able to give the aid they arrived to deliver.

Increasingly, international organizations are aligning to better prepare volunteers for these difficult settings. But well before these guidelines were available, a visionary group of individuals were preparing courses and teaching anesthesiologists for providing anesthesia with limited resources, as well as educating them on personal safety and physical and mental health in these settings. Originating in Great Britain, Dr. Mike Dobson started a course specifically organized to prepare volunteers for using draw-over vaporizers.

At Oxford in 1981, Dr. Dobson, with the support of Sir Robert Macintosh, initiated...

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