EAU congress: a pioneer in complying to ethical rules on live surgeries

13 April 2014

In what may be considered as a pioneering move in international medical congresses, this year’s 29th Annual EAU Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, will be the first international congress to systematically adhere to well-defined rules governing the performance of live surgeries.

“We believe that the EAU may be the first international congress to have such strict rules governing the performance of live surgery, and we are proud that all our sessions will be compliant,” wrote Mr. Keith Parsons, chairman of the EAU Guidelines, in the EUT Congress Newsletter.

Parsons said all the surgical procedures that will be featured during the meeting will be performed and presented under new governance criteria developed by the Ethics of Live Surgery Committee and monitored by the new EAU Live Surgery Committee (LSC).

The new policy was formally presented by Parsons during the annual EAU congress in Milan, Italy in 2013, and since then have undergone further refinement to conform to ethical requirements.

“It addresses several criteria, all of which are designed primarily with patient safety in mind, but also to ensure complete transparency on a range of issues about which patients, delegates, colleagues and, indeed, the public may have anxiety,” said Parsons.

Local organisers of the live organisers are required to submit detailed applications, case by case, with a range of requirements laid down by the committee.

“Perhaps, the most significant is that at every operation there will be a patient’s advocate in the operating room whose sole responsibility will be to look after the patient’s interest during the surgery,” added Parsons. “This is not because we anticipate that any of the operations will proceed any less than satisfactorily, but to give the patient comfort lest he/she might worry that the pressure of the situation may affect the judgement of any of the team- not just the surgeon alone.”

There are 20 live surgical operations scheduled during the congress, with the bulk of the operations to be presented during the ESUT-led full day session on Saturday, April 12. The procedures will be transmitted live from the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm. Participating surgeons are experts on the highly specialised procedures which range from robot-assisted laparoscopic operations to complex endoscopic manoeuvres.

Moderators in the operating room will communicate with their counterparts in the main auditorium hall in the congress venue so that questions can be posed to the surgical team, but without distracting the lead surgeons.

“We hope that this new EAU initiative and Live Surgical Event guidelines will not only be commendable to other organisations but will also encoruage this very important aspect of efficiently disseminating surgical knowledge,” added Parsons.