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DKOU20_Prof. Wirtz

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Dieter C. Wirtz
President DGOU, DGOOC 2020

DKOU20_Prof. Raschke

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Michael J. Raschke
President DGU 2020

DKOU20_Dr. Lembeck

Dr. med. Burkhard Lembeck
Congress President BVOU 2020

Diversity United

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant alterations in our daily lives. Distance regulations, face coverings, and travel restrictions are restraints to our liberties that most of us have not encountered until now. The economic impact is severe, and its magnitude is still hard to predict. For some sectors, e.g. the liberal arts, the crisis threatens their very existence. Internationally, the “German Way” is praised, as there have been low rates of infection and resulting deaths. On the other hand, the pandemic has exposed weaknesses within the system. Staff shortages in nursing and dependence on international supply chains for personal protective gear are only a few examples.

These repercussions are also felt daily in orthopaedic and trauma surgery. Numerous elective surgeries had to be canceled to reserve capacities for potential COVID-19 patients. Strict entrance rules made it difficult, or in some cases impossible, for patients to meet visitors. COVID-19 tests were performed to keep staff and other patients safe. Almost all continuous education programmes, meetings, talks, congresses and courses had to be canceled or pushed to a later date.

Similarly, the German Congress of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (DKOU) had to be cancelled after thorough discussion and consideration of alternatives by this year’s presidents and their planning teams. Over 1400 abstracts were reviewed, and approximately 220 sessions were planned.

Award winners were notified and international speakers, including our colleagues from this year’s guest nation, India, were invited to come to Berlin in October 2020. To ensure pertinence and novelty, the research abstracts that were submitted for this year’s congress will be published in an abstract booklet within the German magazine for Orthopaedics and Traumatology („Zeitschrift für Orthopädie und Unfallchirurgie“).

The pandemic forced the advancement of digitalization in medicine by taking the sledgehammer approach. While video conferences, digital case discussions, and virtual consultations are part of the daily routine by now, digital or virtual congresses are still being tested. This year, we will host the „digital week O&T“ #digitalOT2020 from October 19 to October 23 2020 to offer continuous education and exchange of knowledge to our colleagues and partners in the industry. The Academy for Orthopaedics and Traumatology (AOUC) is organizing this event.

The O&T digital week cannot replace the DKOU with its 12.000 live participants and is not attempting to do so. Nevertheless, it is important to try out new formats like this to be prepared for the future. Starting now, you can register free.

A look into the future: As of right now we are planning to host the DKOU 2021 (October 26 to October 29, 2021) in person, as in previous years, to offer the customary congress experience.