Jean-Louis Vincent | President, World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine (WFSICCM)
I’ve had the privilege of attending and speaking at meetings in many countries ranging from small local conferences with just a handful of attendees through to large international symposia with many thousands of participants. On this “experienced” background, I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s 10th anniversary ESA meeting in Berlin. I found the program content, the scientific standard, the quality of the presentations and the overall atmosphere all excellent. And of course, Berlin is a wonderful city, which continues to evolve and change for the better!
It was great to see the large number of attendees in all sessions. For an intensivist, it is rare to attend meetings with so many people. Of course, anesthesiology is probably the hospital medical specialty with one of the largest number of doctors, but the auditoriums where I spoke were very full! And it is not just the numbers of participants, but also their enthusiasm and interest that stands out: even though many attendees, especially the junior doctors, are still relatively quiet during question times (although less so than some years ago), they are clearly eager to learn with the aim of improving not only their understanding and knowledge, but also their daily practice – this is great to see and surely one of the key aims of meetings such as this. Indeed, despite the dramatic changes in communication and information transfer over recent years with the widespread availability of the internet providing rapid access to much of the latest research and expert opinion, I am a keen believer that well-designed, high quality meetings, such as Euroanaesthesia, still have a lot to offer, not only in passing on the very latest advice and information to participants, but also, and perhaps more importantly, by enabling participants to meet colleagues, peers, and opinion leaders from other institutions, countries and backgrounds with whom they can discuss and debate face-to-face the latest treatments, techniques and data. This global interaction can only help improve our daily practice and thus patient care. I can certainly testify to the many new ideas, opportunities, collaborations, and ongoing constructive exchange that have been born from a chance meeting at an international conference.
I have attended the ESA meeting for many years, and must say that it has made considerable progress over that time. From a small meeting of limited quality (if I may say so!), it has grown into a large, highly respected congress attracting participants and faculty from around the globe. It is fantastic to see that, from my point of view, the ESA meeting definitely surpasses the ASA meeting in terms of quality. It never ceases to amaze me how so many doctors, particularly our younger colleagues, are happy to spend a long week-end in a conference room, when there are potentially so many other things they could be doing! This must be one of the few medical specialties with such a keen interest in week-end conferences, and can only speak for the high quality of the presentations and lectures. As an intensivist, I hope the ESA will continue to include in its future programs a large number of topics relevant to intensive care, surely the most interesting field in medicine! But perhaps I am a little biased… nevertheless, the full sessions I attended reflect the great interest of anesthesiologists in intensive care medicine.
I am already looking forward to Euroanaesthesia 2016 and wish the ESA continuing success as it moves into what I’m sure will be a dynamic and productive second decade.
Prof Jean-Louis Vincent is Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, intensivist in the Dept of Intensive Care, Erasme University Hospital, Brussels, and President of the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine (WFSICCM).