24 Hours in China

| November 11, 2015

The clock on the car dashboard read “2:22”.

It was Saturday afternoon in Shanghai, having left Charlotte, NC at 7 AM the day before. The trip thus far could not have gone any better. A short 14 hour flight from Chicago over the North Pole and quick clear through customs, myself and another pathologist from Cleveland were on our way to Changzhou in Jiangsu province courtesy of GoPath Laboratories to give talks at their inaugural First Annual Molecular and Digital Pathology Summit. Another 200 kilometers by car after more than 7,500 miles by air and we will have “arrived at our destination”. The clock was already ticking. My return flight to back to the US would leave in just over 24 hours.

The Jiangsu Expressway, even on a Saturday afternoon from the airport to the “smaller” city (of 4 million people) where we are going to is packed with traffic in both directions between the numerous toll booths. Trucks of every variety seem to outnumber the cars by 4:1 with huge industrial complexes, factories and apartment complexes along the entire route. I-90/94 from Chicago to Detroit or I-95 from Baltimore to New York seems “rural” in comparison. The industrial plants and amount of traffic across more lanes of traffic seems to go on forever.

We arrive in time for a phenomenal dinner with many of the other speakers and dignitaries from the province. The dinner was a cacophony of fish, beef, seafood, pork, chicken and rice and discussion mostly in Mandarin interrupted by English occasionally. There must have been some good jokes given the degree of laughter. The dinner hostesses were kind enough to provide a fork and spoon when it became evident I was not at adept at using chopsticks for some of the dishes.

On Sunday, following some ceremonial signings and talks by provincial dignitaries, the scientific program began, with the keynote provided by Dr. Vinay Kumar, Chairman of Pathology at The University of Chicago. A translator spoke between his slides for his talk on the importance of molecular techniques and personalized medicine for patients and pathologists.

Speaking after Dr. Kumar, one of the authors of Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, a book that every physician has at one time owned a copy of, was going to be a tough act to follow.

Fortunately, we stopped for a brief coffee break and to take some photos so I didn’t have to immediately follow Dr. Kumar. Having covered an introduction to molecular pathology, I was charged with summarizing digital pathology for the nearly 300 physicians in attendance. My goal was to give a talk I would present in a few days at Pathology Visions 2015 but soon recognized with time for translation this goal was unlikely so a number of slides from the 15-year retrospective I was going to speak on were quickly eliminated from the desktop presentation queued up.

I think the talk was well-received with a good question and answer session about patient-centric technologies, international networks for consultation and even social media.

After a few more talks from both Chinese and US pathologists who spoke in Mandarin, it was time for lunch. More elaborate dishes and lively discussion among the group of twelve. Many from the group left for a tour of GoPath Laboratories in Changzhou while I checked out to return to Shanghai and get to Boston in time for the keynote presentation at Pathology Visions on Monday.

The clock on the car dashboard read “2:22”.

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Category: Digital Pathology News, Humor, Personal

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