REPORT ISPO2000 CONGRESS (March 2000)John Michael's Corner: April 2000
Info received from www.oandp.com

The desert island of Curaçao, located just off the coast of Venezuala, was the site for the second international congress hosted by the Latin American ISPO societies. Excellent simultaneous translations made it possible to freely exchange information and ideas with colleagues from this region despite my own monolingual limitations, although the concentration required to follow rapid-fire translation makes such meetings somewhat fatiguing. Based on the format from the excellent Pacific Rim meetings, the scientific sessions ran from 8AM to 1PM each day, leaving the afternoon and evenings free to learn more about the local culture.

Many of the papers were outstanding. I particularly enjoy multilingual, multidisciplinary meetings because the lecturers generally focus on key points and principles rather than the same old "what's hot and what's not" of single discipline sessions. Engineers David Condie and Brendon McHugh from Scotland did a superb job of presenting the essence of practical biomechanics. Dr. Jose David Freire from Argentina showed a remarkable series of successful orthopedic surgery for neglected paraplegic people with massive decubitus ulcers who were successfully rehabilitated as bilateral hip disarticulation amputees. Actually, the Argentinians turned out in large numbers for this meeting and all their papers were interesting and thought provoking.

By the way, the next Latin American ISPO congress will be in the Argentinian capital city of Buenos Aires; I will post the dates once they have been finalized. BA is one of my favorite urban destinations as it combines the vitality of Latin American culture with a distinctly European flavor. It is also the site of the longest-running P&O school in the hemisphere. And, of course, the local cuisine features some of the finest and healthiest grass-fed beef in the world prepared in a variety of unique ways. Rent Evita one more time for a glimpse of this city and its beautiful surroundings, or visit www.buenosairesherald.com for more information.

Vascular surgeon Nelson De Luccia from Brazil knocked everyone out with his integration of multiple full motion video clips into PowerPoint slides, setting a new standard for effective presentation of clinical case material. He showed successful use of a Utah electronic system by a young man who required surgical revision of a traumatic elbow disarticulation due to a massive and painful neuroma. Dr. De Luccia not only resected the neuroma but also used a mortise and tenon procedure to shorten the humeral diaphysis a few centimeters. The result was the functional equivalent of congenital elbow disarticulation: a self-suspending, rotation-controlling residual limb, permitting placement of the prosthetic elbow in an anatomically correct position.

Leaving Minnesota's sub-zero snow and Norwegian stoicism for a country with an Arizona climate and a multicultural historical heritage was an added attraction. Linda and I stayed at a local hotel, the Otrabanda, directly across from the main harbor. Every morning we could watch the sun rise over the quaint facades of the Dutch-influenced architecture in the shopping district, a few minutes walk across the world's only pivoting bridge.

A week was not enough time to see everything this island country has to offer, but the maritime museum and African slave museum were exceptional in their scope and displays. We also enjoyed many moderate cost meals in local restaurants with our friends from around the world as well as a couple of more elegant dinners in upscale venues. And of course, the Carnival parade was a cacophony of exotic sounds, smells, costumes, and dances as the Curacao citizens showed the results of a full year's preparations for this Lenten spectacle, which is held the day before New Orlean's holds its Mardi Gras celebration.