Operation Airway

Our Mission: Video Introduction

The mission of Operation Airway, a global surgery program of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, is to care for children in developing countries who cannot breathe or speak due to airway complications, teach local healthcare providers how to develop their own sustainable airway surgical programs, and conduct research to improve and innovate how this care is provided around the world. Operation Airway is staffed by a dedicated group of physicians and caregivers from Mass. Eye and Ear and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. Their work and missions are supported by the generosity of the Benjamin Harry Peiken Foundation and other individuals who contribute to the Operation Airway Fund at Mass. Eye and Ear. All donations are tax-deductible. For more information, please visit MassEyeAndEar.org/patients-visitors/programs/operation-airway.

To designate a gift for Operation Airway Foundation - Fund 535547, please visit MassEyeAndEar.org/donations.


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The Need:

El Salvador,
Our Observations:

  • We estimate that 75% of children who require prolonged intubation in the PICU at Bloom Children’s Hospital go on to develop subglottic stenosis
  • In our last mission, 90% of the 70 patients screened for breathing difficulty were found to have subglottic stenosis. The available medical supplies are not adequate to the need
    • Breathing tubes are too big
    • Only un-cuffed breathing tubes are used, both in the OR and in the PICU
    • There is no early action for prolong intubations
    • Patients requiring breathing tubes are often inadequately sedated.

Teaching and Education:

  • One of Operation Airways missions is to provide local teams with the necessary tools to help the most in-need.
  • Through education and hands on training we hope to empower the local health care community so they develop their own sustainable programs to care of their patients. We believe that this is the only way to create a true lasting effect. We hope to continue our educational programs year-round though online labs, simulation exercises and telemedicine.



Our International Program in Boston, MA:

As part of our commitment to continuously support our patients year-round Operation Airway developed an international aid program. Thanks to our joint efforts with Shriners Children Hospital in Boston, we are now able to take care of our patients from El Salvador in the United States. With this program we are able to care for children who need specialized treatments and equipment in order to get better.






How We Do It:

  • Operation Airway is able to fulfill its mission by collaborating with medical practitioners in host countries. In some countries, an established or semi-established airway programs exists, and host country physicians request the participation of Operation Airway to help educate, train, and mentor their team. 
  • Before making a commitment to a specific country, we travel to the country to meet with medical and hospital personnel as well as local non-profits, government officials, and sometimes even the local clergy. Provided all parties agree to the goals and objectives of Operation Airway, we will commit a minimum of 3 to 5 years to provide life-saving surgical treatments, education, and training.

Summary of Projects:

  • Missions/ Clinical Care
  • Teaching/Education/ Sustainable Programs
    • Simulation education
    • Curriculum
    • Harvard/ OA Diplomas
  • Hospital Health Care Systems Based Improvements
    • Not just about surgery about how the children are actually cared for
    • Help the children BEFORE surgery is needed
  • Basic Science Research Collaborations towards translatable improvements
    • Vaccines/Immunotherapy
    • Inexpensive Laser development  for better treatments

How to help:

With only 1 full-time employee OA, counts on our medical volunteers and the generous donations of our sponsors to deliver exceptional care to underserved patients in Latin America.

You can make a donation by either going to: MassEyeAndEar.org/donations and designate the gift for “Operation Airway Foundation Fund 535547” or make a check payable to: Foundation of Mass. Eye and Ear, Inc. (with the gift designation indicated for The Operation Airway Foundation Fund 535547) and send to: 

Development Office
Massachusetts Eye and Ear
243 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
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