On May 14, 2012, Dr. Steven Schelkun was invited to give the keynote speech at the SICOT (Societe Internationale de Chirurgie Orthopedique et de Traumatologie). This is the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology located in Moscow. Dr. Schelkun was asked to speak on "Pre-operative planning, the hallmark of patient safety". He is well known internationally as an advocate for pre-operative planning and a champion of pre-operative surgical checklists that can improve patient safety by reducing morbidity and mortality.
This is now a mandated process in the states which was started at the Kaiser hospital here in San Diego in 1991, long before it became recognized as the standard of care in the US. Dr. Schelkun shares:
Internationally it is not as well known nor practiced but we are making headway and I have introduced this concept into Japan, China, Vietnam, Malasia, India, Ukraine, Russia, Switzerland and Germany.
Following that I traveled to Tomsk in the middle of Siberia in Russia as one of two international faculty members for a four day course on the Principles of Operative Management of Fractures sponsored through the parent organization (AO) in Switzerland where I serves as Chairman the International Education Commission for the past three years.
Here is a photo of the faculty and participants at the venue. Dr. Shelkun is in the second row (middle).
The World Health Organization website on Surgical Safety Checklists:
WHO | WHO surgical safety checklist and implementation manual
An article from the New England Journal of Medicine about surgical checklists: A Surgical Safety Checklist to Reduce Morbidity and Mortality in a ...
A book by Atul Gawande about surgical checklists:
The Checklist Manifesto - Book by Atul Gawande
The AO education website about our courses:
We asked Dr. Shelkun for his bio and have posted it here below:
I joined the Navy in 1972 during my Senior year in Medical School at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. After completing my in Internship at The University Hospitals in Columbus, Ohio I started my active Duty obligation, originally planning to stay only 3 years, but my wife Susan and I loved the challenges, excitement, travel and friends we made in the Navy so ended up staying for 23 years of combined active duty and reserve time. The Navy gave us the opportunity to travel and live all over the world and have experiences that we could never had had in civilian life. I returned to Coronado in 1989 to take a position in the Kaiser Hospitals in San Diego but less than a year later, was called back on active Duty for another year during Desert Storm.
I trained in Orthopaedics at Portsmouth Virginia, our busiest Navy Hospital on the East Coast. It was in Virginia in 1982 that I was introduced to the Swiss Principles of Operative fracture management from a group called AO (Arbeitsgemeinshaft fur Osteosynthesefragen) which loosely is loosely translated as the study group for the problems of internal fixation of fractures. In the '80s these Principles and technique were still coming under scrutiny and criticism here in North America, but I felt this was the best method and I became actively involved in teaching these principles and techniques at AO courses, first in the US and soon after, internationally. Teaching has always been one of my passions and I was later elected to the AO North America Education Committee and after 4 years, chaired this committee before moving up to Chair the AO CME Advisory Board in North America.
Shortly after that I was asked to chair the new AOTrauma Education Commission which is the international group that organizes, sets standards and strategic plans for the 250 AO courses that are given in 120 countries each year. My term as chair has concluded but I still stay active teaching, particularly in other countries. This year alone, I taught in Kiev, Ukraine, Moscow, Tomsk, Siberia in Russia and have been invited to teach in Seoul, Korea, La Jolla, California and Davos Switzerland. Through the AO, I have had the opportunity to know and work with the best orthopaedic trauma surgeons in the world, and through these affiliations and development of mutual respect with my colleagues, I frequently am invited to teach in their countries.
I retired from Naval Reserve service in 1995 after 23 years, but still stay in contact with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery here in San Diego and try to attend resident teaching rounds when I am in town.