A refugee′s perspective on their neurosurgical care in North America

C. Honey, Anujan Poologaindran, Maureen Mayhew, Laura Steen, Christopher Gillis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is a growing population of refugees within North America and an increasing awareness of their unique medical requirements. These requirements include both a well-recognized need to understand the different pathologies that can present in these patients as well as the rarely described need to understand their unique perspective and how this can impact their medical care, especially for routine neurosurgical conditions. This paper highlights a refugee′s perspective toward the medical system in North America and documents how several aspects of this unique perspective hindered or delayed the care for the management of this patient with a cervical cord tumor. Case Description: A 34-year-old female Somalian refugee presented with an ependymoma to Vancouver General Hospital 3 days after arriving in North America. The tumor was removed through a standard posterior cervical laminectomy approach. The patient and her care workers were interviewed 6 months postoperatively to determine if any aspects of care were negatively impacted by her refugee status. Problems related to communication, medical history, mistrust of care workers, familial support, and access to follow-up care were recognized and recommendations for improvements provided. Conclusions: It is well known that the North American physicians must be familiar with the unique spectrum of medical conditions within the refugee community. This paper highlights that physicians must also be aware that refugees may have a unique perspective on our health care system that can negatively influence their care for even routine neurosurgical conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number168
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Neurosurgery
  • refugee care
  • spinal cord tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'A refugee′s perspective on their neurosurgical care in North America'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this