During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland, Mr. Visurraga, a Latino Veteran, first volunteered to be a designated COVID-19 anesthesiology responder for the Baltimore VA. Second, he helped develop the anesthesiology protocol for COVID-19 response which included personal protective equipment (PPE) and anesthesia intubation standardization specific to the COVID19 response.
In honor of the Veterans and Veterans Small Business week, I would like to nominate Cesar Jesus Visurraga. Cesar who served in the U.S. Army, Active Duty and Army Reserve, from 2005-2013 as a U.S. Army Captain. Cesar was a U.S. Army Nurse Officer (66H) serving in Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. and Fort Campbell, KY. Mr. Visurraga was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2007-2009 with the 86th Combat Support Hospital, 101 st Airborne Division. Cesar served as a Head nurse, Charge nurse, and finally, a Critical Care nurse in Iraq. Notable awards include Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal. Currently, Mr. Visurraga resides in Maryland.
Visurraga has worked in the medical field for 16 years, eight of those as a captain in the U.S. Army. Now he manages a team of more than 26 nurse anesthesiologists who enter healthcare facilities to provide anesthesia services across the Tri-State region. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, he finds himself working more than 60 hours a week.
Mr. Visurraga advocated for the modernization and update of hospital PPE positive pressure devices (PAPRS) by contacting manufacturers of PAPRs and identifying areas of needed upgrades to PAPRS for hospital which prompted hospital to swiftly purchase upgraded PPE PAPR device to better protect patients and healthcare providers during COVID-19 response and future.
Mr. Visurraga was the first at the Baltimore VA hospital to create N-95-like masks and provided the hospital photos, demonstrations via video, audio, and on-line tutorials on how to make masks by providers in order to protect health care providers and patients with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Mr. Visurraga has served in code blue/ rapid response teams to intubate at-risk patients with endotracheal tubes for life saving emergencies during COVID-19 and regularly for the entire hospital.
Mr. Visurraga was recently awarded recognition Gold-pin award by the Baltimore VA hospital for his expert airway/medical response abilities in life-saving emergencies for intubating many patients, and use of intra-osseous device accesses to administer life-saving medications in difficult access patients.
Mr. Visurraga’s proactive initiative on facilitating appropriate PPE and anesthesiology response to COVID19 represents the Baltimore VA patient-centered care and clearly representative of his military officer combat leadership as a U.S. Army Captain for emergency response.
Mr. Visurraga is proactive, humble, and focused on patient and healthcare provider safety. He demonstrated in 2020 a clear selfless empathy by volunteering to be the first designated anesthesia provider for responding to COVID19, volunteered to work extra shifts in place of other healthcare providers, volunteered to assume care of the most at-risk patients first in order to protect other colleagues, and volunteered his expert experience in emergency management to first develop masks for healthcare providers and PPE/anesthesiology COVID-19 response protocol development.
Mr. Visurraga owns an Anesthesia Services company which is Veteran-led, Latino-led, and Maryland-based called Visurraga Enterprises LLC. Mr. Visurraga single-handedly led protocol development for healthcare facilities throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia for anesthesia emergency response for the coronavirus pandemic response. Mr. Visurraga led his anesthesia team to develop over 500 masks and distributed them to the Maryland community for free in order to protect fellow Marylanders, particularly the underserved Latino Community. Also, Mr. Visurraga led his anesthesia company to host multiple virtual courses for free on how the Maryland based, underserved community (including Latino community) could make their own masks using household products via evidenced-based practices (see youtube video for example: https://youtu.be/IAvxbP61vqM ).
Mr. Visurraga led his anesthesia company to host for free multiple virtual courses on how anesthesia providers can practice safely in response to the corona virus (see example: https://youtu.be/DvRiDkNzDoI) particularly in Maryland regions where there are a higher concentration of minority (including Latino) representation.