I like to thank my colleagues in the Philippines for inviting me to speak in the recently concluded Post Graduate Course sponsored by the Philippine College of Chest Physicians, Southern Tagalog Chapter.
What I presented is a recent advancement in technology using GPS-style bronchoscopy called Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy (see previous post). I have done a lecture on this before in a Post Graduate Course arranged by University of Santo Tomas Medical Alumni Association. At that time my audience were doctors of different specialties so it was more of general information. This time around, my audience were all lung specialists like me, so I had to present the nitty-gritty details and studies pertaining to this procedure.
I was asked to share my expertise in using this technology since we have been employing this in our hospital here in the US since 2014. I learned that this technology is already available in the Philippines too but only in one hospital, that is the Philippine Lung Center. I do not consider myself a leading expert on using this procedure, but I certainly have more experience using it than any of my colleagues in the Philippines.
The Navigation Bronchoscopy is like driving through the lungs’ passageways with the Waze app that guides the operator turn by turn until he reach the target. Studies have shown that it has a higher diagnostic yield compared to the conventional bronchoscopy when doing lung biopsies. But one of the challenges of this technology is that it is only available in 10-15% of all hospitals here in the US, let alone in other countries. The cost involve using this procedure could be prohibitive, which I believe is the main reason for its limited use. For instance, a hospital has to fork out a quarter of a million US dollars just to purchase this equipment. That is equivalent to 14 million Pesos, which for a hospital in the Philippines is an exorbitant amount.
I was happy to meet up with my Filipino colleagues even if it was only through Zoom, for it was a virtual conference. Below is the virtual background we used when I was giving my talk.
I really wish the conference was in person, for that would give me a forceful reason to come home and even go to the Bicol region (location of conference if it was in person), a place I have not visited yet in the Philippines. I know it is a shame that I have visited other countries, but there are still many places in my homeland that I have not been to.
Even though it was virtual, the meeting was live, and there was interaction with the attendees for there was an allotted time for questions and answers. As one of the speakers, I dressed professionally to look the part even if it was only half of my body that was visible. Unbeknownst to my audience, though I was wearing coat and tie for my top, I was wearing pajama bottoms. Why? Since the conference was Philippine time, I gave my talk past midnight and lasted till the wee morning hours, my local time.
I hope my yawns were not so obvious during the meeting.