Ms Michelle Choynowski, currently a final year medical student at NUI Galway, has garnered national attention for being the youngest William O’Keeffe lecturer at the XXVIth Waterford Surgical October Meeting earlier this month – an honour typically given to surgical registrars and those undertaking postgraduate training in surgery. Her lecture, titled ‘Re-excision in breast-conserving surgery – a surmountable challenge?’ gave recommendations to reduce re-excision rates and was presented to surgeons travelling from within Ireland, the UK and the USA, including the Gordon Watson lecturer, Dr James O’Connor, who is the Chief of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery & Intensive Care at the second ranked trauma centre in the USA.
Ms Choynowski was invited to give the William O’Keeffe lecture after winning the William O’Keeffe award for best original research at last year’s conference. The prize-winning oral presentation, titled ‘Variability following positive margin breast-conserving surgery: a meta-analysis’, was performed under the supervision of Mr Michael Sugrue, Consultant general and breast surgeon at the Letterkenny University Hospital. Her research, funded by community donations from the North West, confirms the variability in re-excision rates worldwide and the need for international consensus guidelines to better manage patients undergoing breast-conserving surgery and prevent additional operations causing emotional distress, poorer oncological outcomes and further economic implications.
Ms Stephanie Vincent also presented her original research, carried out at Breast Centre North West-Letterkenny University Hospital in conjunction with the Donegal Clinical Research Academy, at this prestigious national meeting. Her study on ‘The Keys to Optimising Breast Wounds: A Meta-analysis’ aims to develop an evidence-based wound care bundle following meta-analysis identifying key risk factors and interventions for breast surgical site occurrences. Adopting a breast wound care bundle may streamline care and help reduce potential complications and cost.
Photo from left to right (Dr Gordon Watson, Ms Michelle Choynowski, Ms Stephanie Vincent and Mr Michael Sugrue) at the XXVIth Waterford Surgical October Meeting.