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“Liver transplantation is a multidisciplinary effort”

Health Professions Education
COLLABORATION. For two weeks this October, a multidisciplinary team of specialists from Riga visited Karolinska’s liver transplant team to gather valuable insights and experiences to guide the relaunch of their own liver transplant program.
The multidiciplinary liver transplant team that for the past couple of weeks have worked together at Karolinska.

Carl Jorns, Senior Consultant and transplant surgeon at the Department of Transplantation Surgery, has partnered with Gabriel Dumitrescu, a Senior Consultant at the Department of Perioperative Medicine Huddinge alongside Staffan Wahlin, Senior Consultant Hepatologist together with colleagues at Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, to arrange and manage an observership program tailored for a team of specialists from Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital in Riga, Latvia.

– The idea behind these two weeks of observation was to spread understanding, knowledge and share insights about how we at the Karolinska University Hospital work with liver transplantation. Riga University Hospital had a liver transplantation program in the past, and the goal of their visit is for them to learn from our practices, so that they can then apply it when they re-initiate the program in Riga, says Carl.

– Liver transplantation is a multidisciplinary procedure involving various professions, which is why it's essential for us to practice cross-sectional collaboration. This is something we've aimed to emphasize and highlight during these two weeks, says Carl.

When Riga visited Karolinska, the team encountered an unusually high number of liver transplant cases, which Carl viewed as a very positive development.

– Perhaps it was destiny that things unfolded this way. We were incredibly lucky to have such a substantial number of liver transplant cases during these two weeks. In fact, it was an unusually high volume of cases, Carl remarked.

Carl Jorns, Senior Consultant and transplant surgeon at the Department of Transplantation Surgery and Gabriel Dumitrescu, Senior Consultant, Perioperative Medicine and Intensive Care.

Multidisciplinary group of specialists

– The team from Riga was highly diversified, comprising experienced specialists, which streamlined the conversations regarding a wide range of complex issues and aspects. Additionally, this diversity facilitated collaboration within the group, which went incredibly well, and I hope they felt the same from our side, Gabriel explains.

He adds.

– We had developed a structured program for these two weeks, and looking back, I believe it was very successful.

How do you feel about your visit here at Karolinska?

From the left: Paula Zviedre, Anesthesiologist & Intensivist, Marina Sarkele, Head of the Anesthesiology Department, Janis Vilmanis, Chief Surgeon & Aiga Staka, PhD, Hepatologist.

Janis Vilmanis, chief surgeon.
– We received a heartfelt reception from the Swedish team, and it was truly great that we had the opportunity to explore various aspects that we can bring back with us as we recommence our liver transplantation project in Riga.

Aiga Staka, PhD, Hepatologist.
– We were genuinely impressed by the number of transplantations we witnessed, far surpassing our expectations. The exceptional teamwork was evident, and the sense of unity was great – it truly was a collaborative effort. I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to have participated in this exchange between Karolinska and Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital.

Marina Sarkele, Head of the Anesthesiology Department.
– We are very grateful for the opportunity to have this valuable experience and exchange between our nations.

Paula Zviedre, Anesthesiologist & Intensivist.
– This experience was incredibly valuable, particularly because we had the opportunity to witness a significant number of transplantations in such a short period of time.

Christina Pavlovica, Surgeon.
– I've spent a few months here, and it has proven to be a very valuable experience. It's been enlightening not just to observe the surgical procedures but also to gain insights into perioperative care and witness the collaborative teamwork in action.

What are your final thoughts right now?

– Let’s hope for another liver transplant tomorrow, says Christina and laughs.


Text and photos: Fredric Möller Eklund

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