DAS 1999 Edinburgh Meeting 25th - 26th November 1999


This year’s annual DAS in Edinburgh was an extraordinary event. The sumptuous Royal College of Physicians was the perfect setting for 2 days of presentations and the Society Dinner. The large, newly refurbished lecture theatre may have had seating for over 300 delegates, but it proved barley large enough to hold the record number of attendees and there was standing room only for some of the sessions. The meeting opened with a session on the physiology and anatomy of the upper airway. Several middle-aged men were pleased to learn that sleep deprivation made snoring more pronounced, and were able to add this to the list of excuses. Peter Charters reminded us that experts probably do exist. The second session on airway skills training included John Smith’s FOI programme at Selly Oak and the Dundee experience with a pig surgical cricothyrotomy model. After lunch there were two debates on the requirement for patient consent in airway teaching and the role of the ILMA. Thankfully, these were fully engaged debates by proponents who knew (at least for their 10 minutes) that they had truth and honour on their sides. The last session on the first day was a review lecture by Andy Ovassapian, our guest. The foremost world figure in airway management was welcomed warmly, gave an excellent talk and cemented relations between the US and UK airway societies.

The first day included case presentations, airway workshops, a large trade exhibition and a separate area for the large number of posters. The second day started with a session on the airway and trauma and included a refreshingly critical look at the ATLS teaching, the ENT angle and included airway burns. The free paper session was as popular as in previous years, allowing research and clinical case scenarios to be presented before a quizzical and vocal audience. The meeting ended with a session of updates from the Society, new equipment and a talk on written guidelines. The prize for best poster, judged by Karen Watson and Jeremy Thomas, was awarded to one on cricoid pressure and airway deformation – now a paper in March’s Anaesthesia.

The airway workshops were run in breaks and proved to be very popular – they should be included in future meetings. An enormous amount of behind scene organisation, masterminded by Charles Morton, allowed them to run smoothly. The Society Dinner and ceilidh in the Royal College of Physicians was a magical time, and the call of the kilt extended to people south of Watford.

The vision for the meeting was Geoff Sharwood-Smith’s and it was faultless. Edinburgh itself is one of the most enjoyable cities in the UK and Geoff had organised the decoration of the city and marching bands. Geoff has been very supportive of the Society and its aims from the beginning – lecturing, advising, arguing and setting up in Edinburgh one of the leading FOI courses in the UK. Cindy Middleton, the Conference Secretary, provided the high quality administration that is as important as the scientific programme, and the background and workshop workers were Gordon Pugh, John Henderson, Simon Edgar, Caroline Brookman, May Dickson, Fiona Kelly and Ellis Simon.

It was with some sadness that the meeting ended and the Society is very grateful to all who contributed to this wonderful meeting.