Fellowship report ISKSAA – ESSKA FELLOWSHIP 2014 at Barcelona, Spain

Fellowship period - 4weeks: - 6/7/15 to 30/7/15

Finances: – non sponsored, self managed

Mentor: Dr Juan Carlos Monllau Garcia, MD

Venue: - ICATME- Hospital Universitari Quiron Dexeus, Barcelona, Spain

Parc de Salut mar: Hospital de l’Esperanca , Barcelona, Spain Hospital Del Mar, Barcelona, Spain Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain

I was really fortunate and lucky to have received one of the most coveted fellowships in ISKSAA in association with the European Society –ESSKA. I was initially very apprehensive about going to an unfamiliar non English speaking place. My initial struggle started with searching for a place to live in Barcelona as it could not be arranged by the hosts, but with advice of Dr P Bajaj, I booked a decent place in the heart of the city “The Ramblas”. After booking my flight and place to stay, my struggle for European Visa began, at first go it was rejected but again with the letters from ISKSAA and my host (who was kind enough to issue a letter in Spanish addressed to Spanish Embassy) I finally managed to get one. Like it’s said, well began is half done I began my fellowship taking a flight to Barcelona.

Barcelona is a beautiful place with really warm people around who love to live their life to the fullest. All my apprehensions were a thing of past the moment my host, Dr Juan C Monllau, welcomed me to his city. They really made an extra effort to make me feel at home and make it a point to speak in English as much as possible in front of me. He would explain me the entire case preoperatively before getting scrubbed and justify his choice of treatment followed by discussion with me that what would have I done in India under our scenario. He had very intelligently prepared my schedule of attending Operating rooms so that i don’t even waste an iota of time in Barcelona and I don’t have any day without a surgical exposure on weekdays. In the mornings I used to visit the government hospital facilities under Parc de Salut mar, which constituted of 3 Govt General Hospitals namely Hospital de l’Esperenca, Hospital Del Mar, Hospital de Sant Pau, where Dr Monllau was the head of orthopedics. I would go to these hospitals depending upon the days he had good cases in each of them. In the afternoon and evenings he would call me to his private hospital practice ( a roaring one) at - Hospital Universitari Quiron Dexeus for surgeries and clinics. On a usual weekday I would reach a hospital at 8 AM and get free from the other hospital around 9 PM, sometimes even as late as 10.30 PM.

I had an excellent experience, a real orthopedic delight, visiting OR in Barcelona. The government hospitals had the entire facilities equivalent to the private ones, in some cases even better. I was invited to get scrubbed the very first day in a TKR, as a first assistant along with a resident as 2nd. In the mornings every day I would assist all the surgeries along with the orthopedic residents in govt. hospitals, we would have healthy discussion and presentation of all the cases being operated. The residents were kind enough to translate their findings in English and help me all the ways possible. In the evenings in the private I would get scrubbed for most of the cases but not all as a 2nd or 3rd assistant. We would again have good discussions of all the options and pros & cons of all of them with a extra time for what would be the approach in India.

I assisted various surgeries notably arthroscopic ACL, PCL & PLC, arthroscopic rotator cuff, bankarts repair, Hip arthroscopy, Total knee arthroplasty, Total hip arthroplasty, reverse shoulder arthroplasty, correctional osteotomies for malaligned knees, furgusan osteotomy for malaligned patella. I also learned new techniques of doing various procedures.

At the end of my fellowship, Dr Monllau took the entire unit out for my see off dinner. I really had a good time learning from them, enjoyed every moment of it. It was both a professional and a personal bonanza for me, I connected with different people from around the world, got to know the professional and the general outlook of the western world about the health concerns especially about those that we Indians tend to ignore, be it sitting on chair in Govt hospital OPD, or as a well informed patient. In the end I would like to thank Dr Pushpinder Bajaj, Dr Lalit Maini and Dr JC Monllaou (my host) for all the help and giving me this opportunity to look beyond the geographic boundaries of my clinical knowledge. Lastly I would also like to thank Mr J Ramesh, fellowship coordinator at ESSKA for helping me coordinate with the host.

“ In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

- Lewis Caroll

“Enjoy the little things in life…for one day you will look back and realize they were big things.”

- Kurt Vonnegut


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