September 9, 2012
September 13, 2012
It was a great privilege and honour to host the 40th Anniversary of the ISPN in my home town of Sydney, Australia. The meeting was well attended with 313 registered participants, 83 accompanying persons and 75 registered trade representatives. 51 countries were represented and many were from developing nations.
The Pre-meeting Course on “Surgical Approaches to the Brainstem” was well received by participants with positive feedback on the scientific content, organisation and venue. Many of the neurosurgeons then travelled to Sydney for the “Live Surgery” demonstration where they were able to observe first-hand the infra-tentorial/supra-cerebellar approach to the tectum…..the patient was discharged the following day in perfect neurological condition!
This was followed by a very special President’s Dinner to which 100 members and their spouses were guests of the Honourable Her Excellency The Governor of New South Wales Professor Marie Bashir. Hosting an event at Government House is a privilege usually reserved for visiting international dignitaries such as Presidents and Prime Ministers and then for the Governor herself to stay and conduct historical tours of the House was something very special.
The Opening Reception did not disappoint. The venue, the oldest building in Australia, was deliberately chosen to highlight the historical significance of The Rocks. The food was excellent, the company warm and cordial and the camaraderie exceptional.
Over the next 4 days John Kestle put together his usual magnificent Scientific Program. We were honoured to have both the Governor of NSW and the State Health Minister officially open the meeting. I found every session stimulating and entertaining. There were so many highlights it would be wrong to single out one or two but I must make special mention of Michel Zerah’s talk on “Play with Fire and You’ll Get Burnt”. Michel had to attend the Pediatric Neurosurgery Conference in Brazil but made the effort to fly to Sydney to give his talk, staying less than 24 hours before heading back to Paris! We were entertained by a unique interpretation of the topic when Michel decided to present “Play with Fire and You’ll Get Burnt……OUT”. I believe the take home message of the entire meeting was retire at 60 and you’ll live an average of 19 years more…..retire at 65 and you’ll live an average of only 4 years more! The meeting theme of “Complications” was received with enthusiasm and participants relished in the honesty and candour of the presenters.
The Paediatric Neurosurgical Nurses program was a big success thanks to the organisational skills and enthusiasm of two very talented and young paediatric neurosurgeons, Tom Pitham and Raj Reddy and the usual amazing input of Linda from Liverpool, England.
The social activities were also enjoyed by all. A dinner at one of Sydney’s finest Chinese restaurants was a pleasant surprise. Kayaking on Sydney Harbour was very well attended with 75 neurosurgeons being a little sore and sorry the following day but all the more satisfied for the experience. The Gala Dinner was the absolute highlight of the meeting. The tickets were sold out, the ferries were full, the Pipes and Drums of the Scots College were stirring, the venue was iconic, the rides were fun and took many senior neurosurgeons back to their childhoods, and the entertainment, the inimitable Leo Sayer, was a total surprise and a fitting way to close the social program.
As usual, many people work hard to put an event like this together, but it would be wrong not to thank 5 exceptional people….Tracey Frawley, whose attention to detail was responsible for the effortless running of the meeting, Laine Skene, who was the organisational backbone to the meeting, Melissa Black, who somehow converted a projected significantly negative balance to a small profit, Genevieve Teo, whose enthusiasm and ideas were responsible for the social program, John Kestle, who was Mr Scientific Programmer and Tad Tomita, who was the best President an organising committee could ask for. Of course, we should never forget to mention and thank the medical device companies for their generous educational grants….. Medtronics as a Platinum Sponsor and Aesculap and Codman as Gold Sponsors.
Finally, I would like to thank the 471 registrants who put their faith in me and the committee by attending the meeting, a meeting that I am aware was very expensive, given Sydney was ranked one of the 5 most expensive cities in the world. I also appreciate many of you travelled miles and miles and for many hours to get DownUnder. I hope it was worth it.
Until Mainz, stay healthy and happy,
Charlie Teo AM