Stuart Benham, MD
Consultant Anesthetist, Department of Anaesthesia, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, England, UK
Address correspondence and comments to Dr. Stuart Benham.
Published: April 20, 2001.
The correct citation of this report of a scientific meeting for reference is:
Stuart Benham. Difficult Airway Society Annual
Scientific Meeting 2000 at the University of Manchester Institute of
Science and Technology Conference Center. Internet Journal of Airway
Management 1, 2000-2001.
This was my second year at the annual meeting of the Difficult Airway Society (DAS), and after Edinburgh, my expectations were high. The Difficult Airway Society Annual Scientific Meeting 2000 was held in the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology Conference Center (Manchester, England, UK) from November 23 to 24, 2000.
The physical surroundings were solid, and very functional, but any formality was easily dispersed by that fire-alarm on the first morning. The spectacle of 300 anesthetists leaving and re-entering the building three times in the first lecture did not bode well. That hiccup aside, the rest of the meeting went more or less to schedule. Lunch and refreshments were of a high standard, but the age old problem of queing while being served hot food, is always irksome. The Americans address this issue by having cold snacks prepackaged, and thus avoid the queing. Something for next year perhaps?
The programm covered a range of topics from the difficult airway in trauma, pediatrics, and ENT laser surgery. Sadly the keynote speaker, Dr A Brown (Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA), was unable to attend for health reasons, but his replacement, Dr A Thierbach, (Mainz, Germany) stood in admirably. Probably the most memorable statement made by our German colleague, and one that elicited gasps of surprise (giving way to envy) was his confession to having only 50 fiberscopes available in his department. It is always educational to have the perspective of our overseas guests - helps to enlarge our own vision and expectations.
Four workshops were available at the conference, but bizarrely occurred at the same time as the plenary sessions. I applied, but failed to secure a place at any of the workshops. However, in view of their timing, I was rather relieved. Dr T Strang (Perth, England) and his team are to be congratulated for running these workshops, and coping with the large number of delegates who had an opportunity to attend it.
The DAS dinner was held in the Town Hall, a formidable Victorian structure. The food was excellent, but the ambiance of such a grand hall was lost on the meager numbers of people who attended the dinner - I counted less than 100. Considering many partners attend these meetings, it probably attracted only a quarter to a third of itís potential to the dinner. The absence of any post meal entertainment (dance) may have contributed to this, in part.
The free paper presentations were of high standard, and it was good to see that our commercial supporters had dug deep in their pockets to ensure good quality prizes for these. Dr Karina Maclachlan (Berhshire, England) won the free paper prize for her oral presentation on tracheal intubation through the laryngeal mask airway. The posters were of good quality, but notable mainly by the extreme scarcity. A national meeting that attracts only three or four posters needs some explaining.
The Annual General Meeting elected a new secretary - the shy and retiring Dr M Popat (Oxford, England) - and appointed Dr J Henderson (Glasgow Scotland) to work on the difficult airway protocols and guidelines. Both appointments appeared to be popular choices.
The final event of the meeting was to review the whole idea and practice of guidelines for the difficult airway, and to consider the definition of core skills. Both attracted wide comment and contribution from the floor, which gave Dr J Henderson much to chew on over the next few months.
Personally, high points of the meeting - Glaswegian ENT surgeonís lecture on laser, good accommodation and ease of parking, annual general meeting. Low points - certain speakers wandered well off the difficult airway track, poor interest in presenting research or audit.
Edinburgh was a hard act to follow, but Manchester managed it nonetheless. Dr L Horseman and her team are to be congratulated for their organization and effort in maintaining the high standards set by previous meetings. The delegates are to be congratulated for making it to Manchester in the trough of the railway chaos which swept our country. Itís up to Dr M Popat and his team in Oxford to keep up the momentum.
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