I’m already used to using voice controls to tell my car and phone what to do. Now I have the same capabilities at work too. The room recognizes my voice and hand gestures, and it adapts to me. It pulls up the data I need for John’s procedure. A personalized virtual screen (instead of a bank of a dozen small ones crammed with data) shows me what I need to know. Beside me, the nurse has his own screen with insights about John’s vitals, while the technician nearby has her own data too.
In 2033, the trend of missed or delayed diagnoses, which used to be a leading cause of patient death  is starting to reverse. When I first started out in my career, I worked with CT images that looked like a black and white photograph and showed only one object in focus. They could only tell me about the size and shape of a piece of anatomy. If I’d used that type of imaging with John, it would have been very difficult to see or even biopsy his tumor.
Instead, he would have been sent home and told to wait for six months for a follow-up scan. We used to call this “watchful waiting”, which often ends up being a long period of watchful worrying. For John, it would most likely have caused him and his loved ones a great deal of anxiety.
But in 2033, I can see every detail within and around John’s lungs in sharp focus, and also know what the tissue is made out of (we call this material decomposition) which means I can see precisely where the cancerous cells are that need destroying.
The procedure is also much safer for both of us. Instead of using X-ray fluoroscopy to see the tiny devices I use to treat John, I deploy a groundbreaking technology called Fiber Optic RealShape (FORS) Technology that uses light to let me navigate through the body in real-time and in 3D, from any angle. That means no radiation for John, and no need for me and the staff to wear heavy protective lead aprons.
10:00AM – Carlo, 53, blocked artery
After John, I treat Carlo (53) who has a blocked artery in his leg caused by peripheral vascular disease; he’s followed by Sue, who was in a car crash earlier today. We successfully embolize, or stop, her internal bleeding from the spleen and send her to recovery within 45 minutes. After Sue, I see Sara who has non-cancerous fibroids in her womb. Instead of removing her womb entirely – a radical and often traumatic operation for the patient – we can embolize the fibroids in a minimally invasive procedure that enables Sara to recover much faster, both mentally and physically.
12.00PM – Maria, 27, stroke
With John, our first patient of the day my team knew we could take our time if we needed it. But with Maria, my final patient, it’s a medical emergency like Sue. Although she’s only 27, Maria has been diagnosed with an ischemic stroke (in the US, one-third of stroke victims are younger than 65 ) and Maria’s is caused by an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation (Afib), a condition which is widely regarded as a global public health problem; in 2022, 33.5 million people around the world lived with Afib, which also increases the risk of stroke five-fold. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened with Maria. Yet she is still within the golden window – the earliest hours following a stroke in which patients can have a thrombectomy. This is a minimally invasive IGT procedure where I remove a minute clot no larger than a grain of rice to restore blood flow to the brain and reverse the long-term effects of stroke.
Again, the room adapts to the complexity of the procedure and my needs. I have a device that can navigate itself using robotic-assisted procedural automation through Maria’s arteries. I can place more tools at the tip of that device too – a laser, sensors, ultrasound equipment, a balloon, or a small gripping arm. When I touch the hologram of an artery in Maria’s neck, the device threads itself along the arteries to the clot in seconds. Through my AR glasses I can follow the procedure much more accurately than with my naked eye – as can a group of junior physicians from affiliate hospitals around the world who are all wearing AR glasses showing them exactly what I’m looking at and what I’m doing. It means that they can learn first-hand about the procedure. And after it’s over, a group of doctors in Australia replicate exactly the same procedure on their own with 3D printed modes, taking that old motto “see one, do one, teach one” to the next level.
Maria recovers well. I know that the room’s AI has automatically captured the step-by-step report of my work along the way, which saves me from having to spend valuable time dictating the medical procedure and my findings into Maria’s health record. She’s now being cared for in the neuro ICU by an amazing nursing team – one that’s supported by monitoring solutions that can predict any potential medical emergency before it even happens.
I feel reassured, because Maria will also be wearing an unobtrusive wearable body sensor that will monitor her heartbeat for the next 14 days to detect an abnormal heart rhythm, in the hospital, but also when she ready to go home and be with her family again.