smaccGOLD through the eyes of an intensive care basic trainee
by Lily Foster
Day two at smaccGOLD began with as much enthusiasm as day one and ended with as many bright lights as the opening ceremony, at the gala dinner.
The start of day two at smaccGOLD was one of the most thought provoking discussions I’ve ever had the privilege to witness. A robust debate was enjoyed between accomplished and experienced emergency, intensive care, anesthetic and palliative care professionals. The topic of this was centered on end of life treatment decisions and was aptly titled ‘What is possible. What is reasonable. What is best’. Victoria Brazil negotiated the direction of dialogue between three clinical cases, allowing for several points of disagreement, not only with the group on stage, but also through input of the twitter population.
The key points determined throughout this entertaining conversation were about the patient-centered approach to palliative care, where nothing is ever as simple as it seems. The importance of forging a common understanding and initiating end-of-life discussions were focused on. The importance of multidisciplinary teams and the necessity of teamwork were highlighted.
As a junior doctor, there is much to learn from these exchanges, where differences of opinion between such experienced individuals emphasize the complexity of end-of-life care. This area of significance in medicine is one that must be confronted in an up-front and well-informed manner.
Once again, the options for the lectures throughout the day were generous and varied. Admittedly, FOMO was a real issue.
Oli Flower, the genius behind smaccGOLD, held his own with discussion about one of his favourite topics, the management of status epilepticus. Stepping up the temple of management, to keep in the tribal theme, Dr Flower talked us through the incremental approach to when the seizure doesn’t stop.
John Myburgh brought us right up to date with management of raised ICP, including the analysis of a NEJM article regarding outcomes that had been released on the same day, very impressive.
ICU clinical Q&A was the coagulation of several, opinionated ICU specialists, each with a unique interpretation of clinical scenario involving a septic patient. Recognizing that there are many ways to skin a cat has been one of the more enlightening learning points from smaccGOLD.
Sonowars were an innovative way to teach ultrasound from head to toe. It was a battle of the hemispheres with the winner hidden somewhere in the shades of grey. One of the most interesting things to see was the use of ocular ultrasound for measurement of ICP.
Although the conference content once again amazed, the real highlight of day two was the gala dinner. Held at Jupiter’s casino, dinner and a jam-packed dance floor were followed by a fair level of embarrassment due to alcohol-fueled talent at karaoke. One thing to be said for the critical care crowd is that they certainly don’t lack stamina. Songs were sung late into the night, which encouraged networking between conference delegates from far and wide. The Chicago theme of the night was appropriate to announce smaccCHICAGO, stirring much interest and talk of holiday plans to the U.S.A in May 2015.