Doylestown Health cardiothoracic surgeon James McClurken, MD is an esteemed expert in his field, staying current with the latest proven advances in the treatment of heart disease. He has a passion for sharing this knowledge with colleagues from around the world.
"Knowledge is not proprietary," said Dr. McClurken. "Information belongs to everybody, it's just that some people don't have easy access to it. And, dialogue can facilitate new information acquisition in a way that reading doesn't always convey."
Dr. McClurken traveled to China in April 2018 with the ACC (American College of Cardiology), the leading society for cardiovascular education and guidelines that influence the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. McClurken is an active member of the ACC, which holds a large conference each year in the U.S. This March, the ACC.18, the 67th Annual Scientific Session & Expo, took place in Orlando, Florida. There, Dr. McClurken co-moderated an education session on heart failure.
Dr. McClurken has previously traveled with the ACC to Qatar on the Persian Gulf and participated in a live teleconference with Chinese physicians in the past, but it is sometimes difficult for the Chinese to attend the ACC, so he took ‘the roadshow' to them. He traveled to the Guangdong Province in South China, where he did 10 presentations at different locations and visited 7 hospitals. Most of the presentations for doctors, nurses and medical students took place in Guangzhou, a sprawling city of 11.5 million people.
"It was a remarkable experience," said Dr. McClurken. "I was dumbfounded by the size of some of the hospitals." Many of the facilities Dr. McClurken visited had 2,000 to 4,000 beds. (Doylestown Hospital has 232.)
Dr. McClurken's goal was to present important findings from the ACC.18 to the Chinese physicians, a sort of "CliffsNotes of some of the major studies presented at the annual meeting to disseminate information more quickly."
He was asked to discuss major advances in cardiac care over the last 15 years, late-breaking clinical trials, and new guidelines for hypertension (high blood pressure.) At each presentation, the Chinese had many questions. They were interested in hearing about Doylestown Hospital and also Dr. McClurken's impression of his Chinese hosts and their hospitals. He saw a range of capabilities at the different hospitals, and a blend of Western and traditional Chinese medicine.
Dr. McClurken was the honored guest at many formal lunches. As for the food, he "didn't get too adventurous, but did significantly improve chop stick skills – no one was injured, including me."
For Dr. McClurken, the trip was a "mutual learning experience." He had a personal guide throughout the trip and several physician interpreters at each presentation. Many of the Chinese physicians spoke perfect English. One of the surgeons asked Dr. McClurken to join him on a complicated case, but he was scheduled to fly home that day. He has already been asked to come back. He would consider returning, preferably to another region where he could have new and different experiences - all with the goal of sharing knowledge and learning.
"There is a moral obligation to get this information out there," said Dr. McClurken. "A lot is infrastructure dependent. These trips can help others leapfrog ahead and help with our mutual goal of improving patient care."
About Doylestown Health's Heart & Vascular Services
Expert cardiologists and cardiac surgeons assist patients and physicians with managing risk factors for heart disease, offer advanced treatment options and provide outstanding emergency cardiac care. Doylestown Hospital’s accredited Chest Pain Center is fully prepared to treat cardiac emergencies around the clock, focusing on rapid diagnosis and effective treatment. The multidisciplinary team at the Richard A. Reif Heart Institute is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care and patient safety.