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Letter to Dr. Grossmann

Dear Dr. Grossmann,

It’s been interesting that both your team and mine have used the Google Glasses in the operating room and claimed so on the media within a few hours of each other.  I was in fact surprised when, on the night of the 22nd, I googled “Google glass surgery” and came across your blog.  I sincerely like the way you conducted both the surgery and the communication of the feat, which you mention to be a “…Poor’s man’s …“ set up.


However, I feel obliged -by the very different nature of the technological conditions under which both experiences took place- to clarify that both occasions where world-premiers, on their own.  And I do so out of respect for the many people who have been working hard for weeks, prior to our surgery, who also deserve to be recognised and acknowledged.  Prior to surgery, engineers from Droiders, manily Julian Beltrán, had already performed multiple tests on the hazards of using the glasses in the Or, had also checked that Wi-Fi connections and broadcasting over the internet was possible and I myself had tried the glasses during a small surgery procedure and broadcasted it to our private streaming server, all in preparation for an open broadcast.  We also posted it in our blog, just as you did in yours, and even recorded a test performing a wireless arthroscopy on a pepper.  We didn’t consider that to be an exceptional achievement since it was no more than recording and sending images to our streaming server, something which has been possible to do for a while back with easily available small-sized cameras, held over your head.


What we considered outstanding, and thus divulged in the media was that we managed to perform a complex surgery procedure (chondrocyte implant) while keeping constant communication with a medical team 5800 miles away, who could follow the surgery and observe the same field of view the surgeon was having as well as advise or ask him on-the-go, as he operated the patient. Here you can watch the surgery.  We considered this to be a great deed since it can open doors to telemedicine applications: a non-experienced surgeon under extreme circumstances might start a surgery and directly contact a more experienced physician thousands of miles away, taking heed of his advice; or maybe consulting a medical atlas, charts, or images belonging to the patient on your own glasses when you are operating, should you need them.


Since what you did when you performed your gastrostomy had been performed by our team on previous days, and considering the fact that our surgery was actually aired live over the internet to an open audience and where other teams have been able to participate on the surgery, we claim, in all fairness, our team’s premiership.  This is where the real complexity of the matter lies – to stream contents live from Google glasses to an on-line audience- and being the first team ever to evidently do so.


We hope you recognize our fair rights in this landmark, and you have our most sincere support in reaching your next milestone on this race towards Google telemedicine before we do.  That will be fair as well.


                                               Prof. Pedro Guillén García.




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