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Dr. Teodor Grantcharov invited to be visiting professor at Academic Medical Center of Amsterdam

Toronto, June 7, 2016

By Marc Dodsworth

Dr. Teodor Grantcharov
Dr. Teodor Grantcharov

The Academic Medical Center of Amsterdam has invited Dr. Teodor Grantcharov to be a visiting professor for its Spinoza Chair for his contributions to the advancement of laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery and surgical education, particularly his surgical “black box” for operating rooms.

Dr. Grantcharov, a surgeon at St. Michael’s and a Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute scientist, began testing the black box, an idea inspired by the airline industry, in 2014.

Like black boxes on aircraft, the OR black box records much of what transpires during laparoscopic surgeries including video, audio and digital data from various sensors and devices. When the footage is analyzed, errors are identified and education interventions are developed to prevent the same mistakes from happening in future.

Dr. Grantcharov will visit the Academic Medical Centre, a hospital affiliated with the University of Amsterdam, this week to help implement the OR black box system and to witness the first surgical case in Europe to use it.

“As educators, our goal is to teach our students to learn from their mistakes,” said Dr. Marlies Schijven, a professor of surgery at the University of Amsterdam, an AMC surgeon and lead of the black box project at her hospital. “Dr. Grantcharov’s work in developing and implementing the black box to help us do just that is truly groundbreaking.”

While at the AMC, Dr. Grantcharov will deliver a series of lectures focusing on strategies to reduce errors and improve safety in the OR. He said he hoped that the black box could help challenge the “blame-and-shame” culture that has made doctors and other health-care professionals reluctant to report mistakes.

The Spinoza Chair, named in honour of the17th century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, was established in 1995 and enables renowned visiting professors to spend time at the University of Amsterdam.

“The black box stemmed from the idea that we, as surgeons, could always improve our skills in the OR,” said Dr. Grantcharov. “I am deeply honoured to be invited for the Spinoza Chair as it symbolizes the recognition that we, while not perfect, should never stop striving for perfection.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.