Last month, we had an emergency vitreoretinal case to perform in our paediatric ophthalmology theatres in Alder Hey. The VR surgeons from the neighbouring trust were ready, the 2-year-old patient was ready, the staff were ready, and the theatre slot was booked.
However, our Zeiss Lumera microscope was not equipped to do VR.
First hero of the story was John Jackson from ZEISS Medical Technology who listened to our problem, face-timed us and gave us the lowdown on the kit required to convert our operating microscope into a VR-ready kit. The first miracle we discovered was that our microscope already had an inverter, and he taught us how to set it up remotely.
But we were missing an adapter and a viewing system.
He scoured the country but there were none available from Zeiss at such short notice. John suggested that the only option might be to go for a disposable BIOM from OCULUS Surgical.
Now I looked up their website, and it looked like their closest office was in Germany!
As I was about to give up, I found Brian Moran on LinkedIn. He was the UK rep for OS.
"Dear Brian, can you call me urgently?" I texted.
What were the chances he would read it in time? Does he even check his LinkedIn? Will he even have stock?
Lo and behold five minutes later, he replied. And gave me a call.
"You won't believe this Damien; I'm actually driving right now to Liverpool for a conference," he said.
So this gentleman who lives in Scotland happens to be driving down to Liverpool on the same week that we needed a last-minute kit.
"I do have the equipment you need. But it's in Glasgow! Let me give my son a ring, he's in Glasgow but also on the way to Liverpool tomorrow. He can get into my office and bring the kit down tomorrow."
This is where it gets surreal. Brian rang Jonathan Moran from M.E.D. Surgical, his son, who, completely coincidentally, was coming down to Liverpool the next day, to fix our retinal camera in another unit!
What were the odds?
Long story short, ladies and gentlemen, our theatre became VR-ready in 24 hours.
This update is dedicated to our colleagues in industry. Eye theatres and clinics will not function without your support. It is not just a buy/sell relationship. It is working towards the common goal of providing the best outcome for our patients.
Damien CM Yeo,
Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Strabismus Surgeon,