Sharing surgical expertise and saving lives using a remote assistance solution in the Caribbean

dr david nellensteijn trauma surgeon

When it comes to medical professionals using surgical assistance technology in far-flung locations, you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere more remote than the Dutch Caribbean islands of Curaçao.

Dr. David Nellensteijn is a doctor at Curacao Medical Center, Curaçao performing a broad range of operations encompassing trauma, pediatric, orthopedic, and neonatal surgeries. 

He spoke to us about the benefits of using Rods&Cones devices as part of his day-to-day practice, as well as in his role as a surgical educator.

Accessing medical expertise from anywhere

“I think Rods&Cones is a useful tool in the acute phases as a medium to get connected. With information going back and forth, we can improve performance during operations and therefore save lives.”

-Dr. David Nellensteijn, Surgeon, Curacao Medical Center, Curaçao

To keep up-to-date with the latest surgical techniques and training, Dr. Nellensteijn has formed close partnerships with other surgical specialists located in the Netherlands and the rest of the world. So as part of his routine practice, Dr. Nellensteijn frequently communicates with university hospitals. Traditionally, this is done over the telephone, but Rods&Cones devices present a new and more effective means to share and exchange knowledge and information with other medical experts.

The technology also comes into play when a limited number of surgeons, working on much smaller neighbouring Caribbean islands, need proctoring on new or more complex procedures. As Dr. Nellensteijn sees it, there is a very real and important application for Rods&Cones technology in remote locations, especially in cases where there is an imperative for timely surgical intervention, but an absence of the right surgical knowledge at hand, locally.

Training the next generation of surgeons

“I’m also the educator for surgical trainees in our hospital. And for this specifically, Rods&Cones is a very useful tool because it allows students to do things on their own but still have somebody nearby to help guide them.” 

– Dr. David Nellensteijn, Surgeon, Curacao Medical Center, Curaçao

Making effective use of remote technology helps trainees develop new skill sets. For example, using Rods&Cones devices, Dr. Nellensteijn can comfortably guide an experienced colleague through an entirely new procedure. It’s also a powerful tool for training medical students, giving a professional outside the operating room (OR) a surgeon’s eye view, and enabling them to provide expert guidance whilst the student performs. He has successfully trained over 25 students over the last 12 years.

Dr. Nellensteijn has used Rods&Cones devices in a controlled surgical setting, where he guided his assistant through a non-urgent procedure, whilst located in another room at the hospital. He can see the potential in urgent matters as well. For example, emergency medical professionals working out in a remote rural territory could use Rods&Cones devices to bring in outside help when performing new or complex procedures in the field.

All in all, Rods&Cones devices have an important role in rural, remote, or war-torn communities, where the right surgical knowledge and expertise is often miles away, and out of reach when it’s needed the most.  

Explore our range of kits for providing remote access to your OR.

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