Reflections of a social creature

We are social creatures. Sometimes we need to meet just to know we like to meet. 

The recent SEMS Annual Scientific Meeting 2013 in Singapore was a blur of activity. From the pre-conference workshops (hypothermia, tox, airway) to the 2 day main schedule packed with goodness to the torrent of information made available to the post conference options. All this interspersed by food glorious food (the obligatory Singapore past-time). 
Some of the plenary highlights included A/Prof Benjamin Abella taking us to the cutting edge of Emergency Medicine. His personal examples of tele-medicine and networked care showed us not just a swish vision of the the future but the glories of the present as well.
Break out sessions yielded more treasure of pearls & nuggets from actual ED experience. From current toxicology to established paediatrics to future education trends. Following sessions encompassed the ever challenging fields of critical care, trauma and pre hospital care.


One of these was a robust trauma session gave us aphorisms aplenty. My personal favourite has to be: 

"The only time my registrar is allowed to use the word "stable" in a P1 trauma case 
when there is an actual horse in the ED"
More wisdom ensued with Prof Peter Manning listing the words that should never pass your lips in an ED. Samples of blasphemy included:
  • Its not a heart attack
  • There's no rib #
  • Let him sleep it off
More snippets and full talks can be had here for those who couldn't make it.

The pervading theme that was intoxicating throughout the whole conference centre though, was one of sheer camaraderie. A feeling that only comes with a shared experience. A brotherhood of sorts or, a fellowship if you will, which transcends geography, experience, finance and politics. All cognizant of the historical truth that the human race only got better when we exchanged perspectives and collaborated.

Few things are comparable to the unbridled joy of kinship. Knowing that across the globe, "pit docs" just like you work in the same proverbial trenches and face the same access block, chronic under resourcing, educational challenges, interdepartmental woes and enforced performance indicators. However, allied to this are their similar aspirations for their department, the longing for open access education, the desire for equipoise in research and a little more office space (oh yes, its the same cramped junkyard all over the world)! 


I've been to numerous congresses for over the decade on many continents and the fellowship is always a source of warmth, but it's gratifying to have it in your own backyard for once. So kudos to the organisers (the chair being Emergence Phenomena's own Dr Phua DH) and we shall see you at next year st SEMS 2014 - for social creatures are we...