On September 28, the Department of Surgery hosted a group of 31 surgeons from Ireland, all of whom were members of the Irish Surgical Travellers Club. Hailing from all over Ireland and representing a breadth of surgical subspecialties, the surgeons comprise an elite group whose members include the current and former presidents of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland.
The key purpose of the club, which was established in 1954, is to promote continuing education and excellence in surgical practice among surgeons throughout Ireland. The group travels abroad annually to visit hospitals in the United Kingdom/Europe and, on alternating years, North America.
The surgeons were greeted on their arrival with Gaelic words of welcome, "Céad Míle Faílte," by Elliot Chaikof, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Michael Cahalane, Acting Chief of Acute Care Surgery. Also present to welcome the group was Michael Lonergan, Consul General from the Irish Consulate in Boston, and many BIDMC surgeons, surgical residents, nurse managers, and staff.
Alongside their hosts, the group spent a busy day at the hospital - observing in BIDMC's operating rooms; listening to presentations, including one by well-known author and local surgeon Atul Guwande, MD; and participating in panel discussions led by surgical faculty on robotic hepatobiliary surgery and weight-loss surgery by BIDMC surgic
al faculty members. On the previous day, the group visited Massachusetts General Hospital.
"It was a highly educational, interesting, and enjoyable experience for us all," said Irish Surgical Travellers Club president and surgeon Aongus Twomey, who selected Boston as this year's destination. "We were very honored that the Surgeons-in-Chief of both of these world-renowned hospitals not only welcomed our visit but were also very active in organizing the events.
"It was our wish that we would get a glimpse for a day of cutting-edge practical surgery in addition to presentations of the highest caliber," he added. "Thankfully all we hoped for was provided in abundance. We spent a considerable amount of time in the OR, which will be of great benefit to our own surgical practices in the future."
"We were delighted to host the club members, and hope this will lead to further international collaborations with faculty in our department and the surgical leaders of Ireland," said Michael Cahalane, MD, Acting Chief of Acute Care Surgery at BIDMC. Dr. Twomey echoed Dr. Cahalane's interest in developing collaborations. "We hope that future exchanges for surgeons-in-training in both our countries may follow as a result of the contacts we made during our visit," he said.