Belgrade, Serbia hosted the ESCP's 8th Scientific Meeting in September. Eight pre-congress placements were made available for fellows / senior trainees in coloproctology at six centres of excellence prior to the meeting. The host centres welcomed seven senior trainees for two days prior to the congress, allowing them to participate in the Centre’s day to day clinical activities. 

covidienThis opportunity was once again made possible by a grant from Covidien who have generously supported ESCP pre-congress placements since 2008.

Seven recipients of the 2013 Pre-Congress placements report on their experiences:

Dragomir Dardanov 

dragomir dardanov

from 5th City Hospital, Sofia; Medical Faculty, Sofia University, Bulgaria
visited Surgical Clinic, Zvezdara University Medical Center, Belgrade, under the direction of Professor Vladimir Cuk.

"My placement at Surgical Clinic, Zvezdara University Medical Center, Belgrade was a great opportunity to meet with leading Serbian experts in the coloproctology and their experience; to learn their surgical techniques and approaches in surgery of the colon, rectum, anus and related organs.
I attended operating theatre and ward rounds with the consultant surgeons Prof. Valdimir Cuk, Dr. Igor Krdzic and Dr. Bojan Kovacevic. I had the opportunity to observe different kind of elective colorectal operations. A great number of the colorectal cancer surgery is laparoscopic. I am impressed of their surgical technique both in open and laparoscopic operations.
I wish to thank Prof . Cuk, to Dr. Krdzic and Dr. Kovacevic for their devoted care and guidance during all the time of my placement both in the hospital and social programme in Belgrade. We are able to plan a future cooperation.
I would like to appreciate and express my sincere gratitude to ESCP and Covidien for granting me with this placement."

Niels Komen 

niels komen

from Sint Augustinus Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium
visited First Surgical Clinic, Clinical Center of Serbia, under the direction of Professor Dragutin Kecmanovic

"After a smooth flight Sunday 22nd of September and a good night’s sleep I was received at the First Surgical Clinic of Belgrade on Monday morning with great hospitality. After some Serbian coffee and grapes we joined the morning conference where we were welcomed by the staff. A few aspects of the organization of the surgical department were explained as well as the impression the war had made on the clinic. The most impressive example of the impact was the new hospital, build next to the old clinic just before the war, that was empty because it was deemed unsafe due to disuse and lack of maintenance.
The department of Professor Kecmanovic is a highly specialized, tertiary referral colorectal unit that only performs elective colorectal surgery. On Monday a TME and a pelvic exenteration with double barrel wet colostomy were performed and on Tuesday a left colectomy and cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC. These procedures were performed in a relatively small OR, however due to the remarkable efficiency of the operating team this was no problem at all. The ambiance at the OR as well as on the ward was open and friendly. Questions could be asked and everybody wanted to answer.
On both evenings I was treated to great Serbian hospitality by Professor Kecmanovic and his team. I learned to appreciate the real Serbian brandy and had a taste of the Serbian cuisine. It was a great experience, leading up to a very interesting, well organized congress."

Jeremie Lefevre 

jeremie lefevre

from Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Paris, France
visited First Surgical Clinic, Clinical Center of Serbia, under the direction of Professor Zoran Krivokapic

"I had the honor and pleasure to spend two days in the department of Pr Zoran Krivokapic in Surgical Clinic, Clinical Center of Serbia before attending to the 2013 ESCP Annual meeting in Belgrade. During these two days, I had the privilege to be completely integrated within the team in order to see all different aspects of a usual day in clinics. We started with a ward visit before the morning staff where the residents presented the case of patients to be operated. We saw outstanding surgery in the theatre and had the privilege to talk about several topics of colorectal surgery with Pr. Krivokapic. The second day we also had the opportunity to see endoscopy and US-endoscopy with Dr Goran Barisic. This session was very interesting and we discussed about complex Crohn’s cases and anoperineal diseases. Overall, I felt everywhere eagerness and generosity in the department which made these two days very pleasant. I would like very much to thank Pr. Krivokapic, his team, the ESCP committee and Covidien for this pre-congress placement opportunity."

Frank McDermott 

frank mcdermott

from University College Dublin, Ireland
visited, Military Medical Academy, Belgrade, under the direction of Professor Mile Ignjatovich

"The military medical academy is a large 14-storey hospital located on 14 hectares in the Banjica hill area of Belgrade. Although primarily a military hospital it also serves the civilian population and has a reputation as one of the best medical institutions in the region. I spent 2 days here as a guest of Professor Mile Ignjatovich, the chief surgeon for the general surgical department. My hosts were extremely welcoming and I had the opportunity to join in ward rounds, outpatient clinics and observe many surgical cases in theatre. The most striking difference to my practice in the UK is that there is much less sub-specialisation. However, there is a real drive to practice modern surgical techniques and several of the general surgeons have completed laparoscopic fellowships in international centres of excellence to further the laparoscopic procedures offered for both upper and lower gastrointestinal surgery.
We are very fortunate to have a career that allows us to spend time in different global health centres to collaborate with colleagues and learn. I am very grateful to the ESCP and Covidien for sponsoring this worthwhile opportunity."

Igor Pravosudov 

igor pravosudov

from the N.N.Petrov Research Institute of Oncology, St. Petersburg, Russia
visited First Surgical Clinic, Clinical Center of Serbia, under the direction of Professor Zoran Krivokapic

"My two days’ visit to the First Surgical Clinic Center of Serbia was very fruitful. Prof. Z. Krivokapic and his staff shared with me their experience in the field of colorectal surgery. I took part in multidisciplinary team meetings and observed some surgical procedures (low anterior resection with side to end anastomosis, abdominoperineal resection, etc). Also it was a good opportunity for me to meet my Serbian friends. I appreciate Prof. Z. Krivocapic and all his team and look forward to our future collaboration."

Rosaria Scarpinata 

rosaria scarpinita

from King’s College Hospital, London, UK
visited Nis Clinical Centar, under the direction of Professor Goran Stanojevic.

"I would like first to express my appreciation and gratitude to the ESCP for the honour and privilege of the pre-placement conference held in September 2013 in Belgrade. I had the opportunity to be guest of honour of Nis Clinical Centar, Serbia.
These two days placement allowed the unique opportunity to meet and spend time with surgeons, researchers, educators and trainees from a different country. It was an unique experience based on active partecipation in theatre sessions, ward activities, research meetings. It was a sharing/learning experience which will definitely make a positive impact in my surgical career.
I am grateful for the hospitality of Prof. Goran Stanojevic and his colleagues and trainees, who all took time out of their busy schedules to meet and share ideas formally and informally. Their assistants were also invaluable for coordination and scheduling."

Alexander Zapolskiy 

alexander zapolskiy

from State Research Center of Coloproctology, Moscow, Russia
visited the Institute of Oncology of Vojvodina, under the direction of Professor Milan Breberina.

"I was for two days in Institute of Oncology of Vojvodina in the department of surgical oncology. The chair of this department is Professor Milan Breberina. He is a very nice and communicable doctor as is his assistant, Dr Zoran Radovanovich, I had very good communication with him too. Now I can call them my friends. This department has 41 beds and surgeons operate colorectal, chest and thyroid cancer. I assisted with operations every day with great pleasure. Surgeons in this department are very experienced and communicable. This experience was very important for me and I think that this practice of fellowships for trainees should continue. I want to participate in events like this as often as possible as I like to work and communicate with foreign colleagues. In my opinion international communication between coloproctologists around the world is very important for the development of coloproctology.
Thank you very much for this opportunity to participate in 2013 pre-Belgrade placements."

ESCP Affiliates