#30 – Anesthesia in Chad, Africa: Part 2 – Mason McDowell, DNAP, CRNA

In 2014, Mason McDowell, DNAP, CRNA quit his job, sold most of what he owned and moved with his wife and two young daughters to Chad, Africa for a long-term commitment to provide anesthesia and education.  Here is a glimpse of their story.

Part 1 overviews Dr McDowell’s experience and challenges providing anesthesia and living in Chad.

In Part 2, Dr McDowell offers advice for CRNAs/SRNAs who are looking to travel internationally to provide anesthesia in developing nations.

The McDowell family’s time in Chad was interrupted abruptly by a deteriorating political situation making it unsafe for them to stay.  They lived in Bere, Chad for nearly two years before being forced to leave and return to the United States.  Since that time, Dr McDowell has traveled to Nepal and Sierra Leone to provide short term anesthesia services.  In this podcast I talk with him about the challenges of providing anesthesia in underdeveloped settings.  From the bugs at night in the desert heat to draw-over vaporizers and the heart wrenching stories of not having enough resources to provide care, Dr McDowell conveys what it was like for his family to live and work in Chad and what we can do as SRNAs, CRNAs and anesthesia providers to help serve underdeveloped nations.

This is really an amazing story that I’m honored to share.  You can read more about Dr McDowell’s time in Chad at his blog: Why We Should Go.  Dig deep, read the stories.  They’re amazing.


Dr Mason McDowell lives in Western North Carolina and serves as faculty with Western Carolina University’s (WCU) Graduate Nurse Anesthesia Program.  Before moving to Chad, he served as the Assistant Director of the Graduate Nurse Anesthesia Program at WCU.  He is the co-author of the chapter on Hepatobillary and Gastrointestinal Disturbances and Anesthesia in Nagelhout’s Nurse Anesthesia.


Unites States Department of State page on Chad:


Corbett, S., Fikkert, B.  (2012) When helping hurts: how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor… and yourself.  Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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