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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 0

Parekh Indo-US Foot and Ankle Meeting

Date of Web Publication28-Feb-2020

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How to cite this article:
... Parekh Indo-US Foot and Ankle Meeting. Duke Orthop J 2019;9:0

How to cite this URL:
... Parekh Indo-US Foot and Ankle Meeting. Duke Orthop J [serial online] 2019 [cited 2024 Feb 27];9:0. Available from: https://www.dukeorthojournal.com/text.asp?2019/9/1/0/279490

My trip to India almost ended before it even started. When I showed up at the airport, I realized very quickly my flight had been canceled, despite the fact that I had already cheeked in the night before. After a 45-minute struggle with multiple airline representatives, I was finally booked onto new flights connecting in London, albeit arriving 12 hours later than I initially planned. Thus, after 24 hours in the air and over 12 hours of lay-overs, I finally landed in India, excited to begin my journey.

Pune, India was the site of the 10th annual Parekh Indo-US Foot and Ankle Surgery Annual Meeting. The meeting was started over 10 years ago by Dr. Selene Parekh in honor of his parents, Gunvant and Bhartai. The conference is designed to disseminate new ideas and techniques in foot and ankle surgery with both local and international foot and ankle surgeons and physical therapist. This year's course had an incredible faculty including Dr. Rajiv S. Shaw, MBBS, the “God Father” of foot and ankle surgery in India, as well as our local host Dr. Sampat Patil. We also had a large variety of other Indian national as well as international faculty, including Duke's own Dr. Samuel Adams, as well as Dr. Kaan Irgit from Turkey, Dr. Muhammad Farhan Mohd from Singapore, and Dr. Bernhard Bevernage from Belgium. Through the generosity of the Parekh Foundation, two resident scholars were selected to attend, myself and Dr. Bonie Chen, a PGY-4 Resident from the Harvard combined orthopaedic residency program.

My saga in India began when I touched down in Mumbai. After quickly being picked up in a car by my local driver helping me to navigate the 4-hour drive to Pune, I was immediately struck by the overwhelming traffic in Mumbai. The roads were exploding with cars, rickshaws, and motor-cycles, all competing for the same space and constantly passing between and around each other. Though there were occasionally lines marked on the roads dividing the “lanes,” these were completely and totally ignored. I was amazed by my driver who avoided what seemed to me to be the world's worst traffic jam without hitting anyone else. Almost as stunning as the traffic were the massive number of people and animals walking along the side of the road. I quickly lost count of the dogs, goats, cats, and other assorted animals that were all walking freely along the sides of the roads without leashes or seemingly any concern for the crowds moving around them. It was truly an overwhelming experience to see the sea of pedestrians moving along-side the torrent of traffic, all seemingly intermingling together, yet without anyone hitting each other. I was incredibly impressed with the skill of the Indian drivers.

After a beautiful ride through the mountains surrounding Pune, I finally arrived at my hotel. After quickly dropping off my bags, and getting my first shower after 36 hours of travel time, I met up with the rest of the international faculty. We headed to lunch at a local Italian/Mexican restaurant. It was a little confusing to go to India and start my first meal off with pasta with paneer and chickpeas, but it was really a delicious meal. This was also my first experience with the do's and do-not's of eating in India as an outsider. Due to the lack of reliable clean water, we had to take precautions with what we ate. Fresh fruits and vegetables (often washed in local water) were a big no-no, as were ice and unbottled water. Cooked meats, pasta, rice, as well as hot coffee and tea were all fair game. While learning what to order was a transition at first, it was more than made up for by the quality of the food we were able to enjoy. Following lunch, most of the international faculty went back to their hotel rooms to catch up on sleep. Dinner was at a traditional Indian restaurant located in our hotel, which set a high bar with excellent butter chicken, saag, and all manner of traditional Indian fare.

Our first day of the conference began with a traditional breakfast at our hotel, heavy on seasoned rice and rolled crepe-like filled pastries called dosas, and lots of coffee. After breakfast, we all piled into cars to head to the conference center. Upon arriving, we were each presented with the traditional cap of scholars in Pune, and each got to take pictures with the unique garb. The rest of the morning included didactics sessions from various faculty members. Immediately following the morning sessions, we headed to a local hospital for planned surgical cases. As part of the conference, and through generous donations from a number of orthopaedic implant manufactures, the team was able to provide free surgical care for a select group of patients in need of complex foot and ankle cases. Dr. Parekh saw all of these patients in clinic in India the day before the clinic, and divides up the operative cases among the international faculty. Over the two days we were there, this included such diverse cases as an ankle arthroscopy with microfracture, ORIF of a calcaneus fracture, a total ankle replacement, and a complex midfoot fusion just to name a few. It was an incredible chance to see how surgery was performed in another country. Even entering the ORs was a very different experience than in the US, as you had to take off your shoes and socks, go through a “car-wash” and put on a set of crocs to enter the operating room. However, once the cases started, it was easy to forget about the different surroundings and focus on the task at hand. To add another layer of complexity, each of the surgeries was live-streamed to the audience in the conference center, so that the audience could see everything and even ask questions live during the surgery.

After we finished in the OR, we went back to the conference center, where we participated in hands-on saw bones sessions for the local surgeons to get to practice some of the new skills they were learning. This was followed by another delicious traditional Indian dinner.

The second day was similar to the first day, with a morning filled with both didactic lectures and case-based discussion.

Running concurrently with the lectures for the surgeons was a physical therapy morning lecture series. Between the two talks, there must have been at least 300 people at the conference. They sure filled up the conference center in a hurry! In the afternoon, we went back to the hospital for more cases, then back to the conference center in the evening for more sawbones.

Day 3 began at 6:30 AM with a run around one of the downtown areas in Pune. The weather was perfect, and it allowed everyone a great chance to stretch their legs and work off some of the delicious food we had the past few days. After this, we came back to hotel, showered, and headed back to the conference center. After a busy morning of case-based panel discussion, we all unfortunately had to say our good byes and head to our respective airports.

Thank you to Dr. Parekh and all of the faculty and attendees of the 10th annual Parekh Indo-US Foot and Ankle Surgery Annual Meeting. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience, and an incredible opportunity to learn about both foot and ankle surgery as well as the people and culture of India. It certainly inspired me to want to do more international service and learn even more about how surgeons approach problems in other places. I know I will never forget the incredible opportunity to attend and highly recommend anyone with the chance pursue a similar opportunity!


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