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Apocalpyse Now...Or A World of Opportunities?



Not even the cold, wind and rain stopped a crowd of enthusiastic ICU doctors from gathering at The Grand in Richmond on 21st March to listen to 2 inspiring speakers for the first WIN/ICN co-badged dinner of 2017.

First up was Dr Steve McGloughlin, ICU Deputy Director, ID physician and Intensivist from the Alfred Hospital who gave the talk titled “Apocalypse Now! Antibiotic resistance and the future of ICU.” He propelled us into the future to ask ourselves, what will ID and ICU look like in 2025?

Steve gave a great talk about the challenges of ICU, both today and in the future and gave us several glimpses into what might be in store for us. He discussed the bridge between ID and ICU and how antibiotics are so integral to our work and our future in ICU. With infection being such a heavy burden on what we see and treat in ICU, what would we do without antibiotics? Will the risk of infection be the same in 2025 as it is now? Will antibiotics still work? Or will we have other magical potions at our fingertips in the world of the future?

Steve also discussed the heavy burden of antibiotic resistance and postulated a time in the future when we may need to go through both security control and “bacterial screens” at the airport prior to jet setting to the other side of the world, thus preventing the nasty spread of antibiotic resistance around the globe.

One possible thought for the future of ID and ICU is the idea of rapid diagnostics - point of care testing for lactate, bacterial identification, bacterial resistance and so much more. The idea of a future with antibiotic resistance seems almost certain, but who will be the next clever professor to come up with something novel to prevent it?


Next up was A/Prof Nerina Harley, Intensivist and Director of Intensive Care at Epworth Freemason’s Hospital with her talk, “WHO’s responsibility is it? Time with an extraordinary organisation in a world of chaos.”

Nerina gave us a fascinating glimpse into her world as a consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the specific details of her 6 month sabbatical in Geneva. Nerina discussed the framework of the WHO and how it provides leadership and shapes research agenda, especially in the fields of emerging diseases. She had the privilege of working with the Pandemic Epidemic Disease Department in issues surrounding Ebola, Zika, and Influenza outbreaks. Her talk discussed the complexity of the many organisations involved in the response – from large organisations, to country officers and local communities, and how health emergencies and natural disasters can have a large impact on the economy, culture, politics and health of populations. The

ramifications from just one country or region can be global. At the time of her sabbatical, there was a Yellow Fever outbreak and Nerina spoke about her involvement in developing a Yellow Fever interim guideline and the process involved in developing official guidelines.

There was also an outbreak of H1N1 in Fiji and Nerina and the WHO were involved in a mission that went there last August to review case definitions, provide training and review guidelines. Nerina also discussed her experience attending a meeting in Venice in Dec 2015 with people and teams involved in managing SARS, MERS, Ebola and how great it was to be in the presence of people doing such incredible work around the world.

Finally, Nerina described the “5 Pillars of Your Career” – clinical expertise, education, research and quality assurance, your internal community and the external part of your career. This was a fascinating part of her talk where the concepts of improving, engaging, researching, representing, contributing and moving forward in one’s career in medicine were highlighted with specific examples of opportunities that can enhance and influence our ongoing careers in intensive care.

With both delicious food and engaging discussion, all in all, the first WIN/ICN co-badged dinner of 2017 was a great success. We’d like to thank both Steve and Nerina for 2 wonderful and engaging talks and we look forward to hearing more of their fascinating views and experiences in the future!

Keep an eye out for the pending publication of the podcasts from this great evening!


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