The DiMiMED, which in the meantime has developed into a traditional event, was held from November 15-16 during the MEDICA in Düsseldorf.
The two scientific heads, Rear Admiral uh (ret) Dr. Büttner and BG (ret) van der Meer, welcomed approximately 250 participants from 38 nations.
The multi-faceted programme, with a total of 57 scientific lectures and a simulation workshop, was received with great interest.
It was possible to obtain the services of Major General Jean Robert Bernier, the Chairman of COMEDS, as the keynote speaker, who highlighted in particular the value of the DiMiMED for the international family of medical services in the military.
The exchange of experience and formation of networks with the objective of developing potential international collaborations was an important aspect of the event this year too.
In co-operation with the German Society for Disaster Medicine, a particularly large number of lectures dealt with this fundamental topic. Particularly impressive here were the remarks of the Belgian Surgeon General Major General Geert Laire and the French Deputy Surgeon General Major General Patrick Godart concerning the bomb attacks in Brussels and Paris. Incidents such as these and how to deal with them were the subject of intense discussions during the breaks.
After listening to specialist presentations, the participants were able to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in this field in a triage exercise conducted by the German Society for Disaster Medicine using case studies. With regard to the numerous interesting lectures by outstanding specialists from a large number of different regions of the world, the organisers had once again decided in favour of holding parallel sessions.
The good and essential cooperation between medical services in the military and industry was again seen during the conference in the form of joint lectures and the intensive exchange of ideas between the military users and manufacturers of medical devices. This was and remains a further objective of the DiMiMED – to push forward jointly with innovations for the benefit of the patients and injured individuals placed in our care, as the Chairman, Rear Admiral Dr. Büttner, explained.
The topics of Mental Health and CBRN were offered for the first time at the 4th DiMiMED and were heard by a particularly large audience. It became apparent that in the area of CBRN in particular, there is a considerable need for the exchange of ideas and experience.
The current refugee problem, which will certainly continue in the future, had induced the organisers to include this topic as a separate session in the programme. The speakers whose services it was possible to acquire to talk on this subject presented their experiences very impressively and highlighted the future need for action.
The necessity of preparing for future deployments with the support of simulation technology has resulted in corresponding training methods all over the world in the meantime. A simulation workshop lasting several hours on the theme of “Are we prepared?” therefore met with particular interest, especially as the participants were able to convince themselves in practical terms of their own abilities or – if applicable – any training deficits.
A Gala Dinner which was held for the speakers in a country house hotel was a festive conclusion to the first day of the conference. This evening was also taken advantage of by the Medical Officers and scientists for a professional exchange of ideas and networking.
The focus of the second day was on the area of traumatology. The most recent findings, taking into account incidents involving a large number of injured people, were discussed with the listeners by outstanding specialists. The main focus of attention was on patterns of injuries, such as those which are to be expected under deployment conditions and after terrorist attacks.
One lecture which received a huge amount of attention was one on stem cell therapy, as this form of treatment is well on the way towards significantly changing the medical world. In subsequent discussions during the breaks, this topic was by far the most popular subject of the conversations. Finally, the conference was ended with a mixed bag of specialist presentations on a wide range of current medical problems among the military services.
This session in particular – current affairs – offered the nations and speakers the opportunity to draw attention in their lectures to very specific areas of focus and experience from their respective areas of responsibility and thereby encourage others to participate in collaborations and exchanges. At the end of his talk, the SHAPE Medical Adviser referred to the current NATO missions in which the respective medical services are involved. As in the previous year, the conference was also accompanied this year by a poster exhibition, although the number of posters involved was regrettably only three. The winner was rewarded with prize money of EUR 1,000.
Overall, the 4th DiMiMED was again a very interesting conference, and in the meantime has become an important event in the world of military and disaster medicine.
At the end of the 4th conference, the preparations for the 5th DiMiMED are already starting. This will also take place during MEDICA next year and is expected to last two days.
The organisation team would be very pleased to receive suggestions and ideas for the next DiMiMED from MCIF readers as soon as possible. Our aim is to maintain the conference at a high professional level with a programme that includes discerning contributions about science and military medicine, as well as remaining an important meeting point for the international family of medical services.
With the Poster Award we would like to encourage younger Medical Officers and scientists in 2017 to present their special knowledge in the field of disaster and military medicine to a broad international audience.
Save the date – November 14/15, 2017 – and help the conference to maintain its high level of importance among professionals with your suggestions.