He is the most famous children’s heart surgeon in the country, in 2009, René Prêtre (62) was elected to the Swiss of the year. Between 2001 and 2012, the native of native of Canton Jura worked at the Zurich children’s hospital, the largest centre for paediatric surgery in Switzerland. Today he is head of the clinic for heart and vascular surgery at the University hospital of Lausanne.

Since last fall, Prêtre is now back to its former effect – at least on Mondays. And it happened: In the autumn of 2018 escalated at the Zurich children’s hospital, a long-smoldering conflict. Prêtres successor had to leave the hospital with a Bang. Until a successor or a successor is installed, jumps, René Prêtre in the breach. On average, one to two interventions per week, he performs in Zurich, Switzerland.

seven-hour surgery in an infant

Every Monday, he will travel early in the morning from his home in Lausanne to Zurich and had surgery there difficult, but predictable cases. In the case of emergencies, he is also, in the short term, to use, will then be flown by helicopter to be loaded.

So, a call from Zurich, reached him on Friday two weeks ago: Since there is a donor heart, the come for a five-month infant in question. So he can sew up the body from the Size of a grape with all its vessels, the surgeon with a magnifying glass. Seven hours, then it is done: The blood flows through the heart muscle and the transplanted Organ begins to pump. “It is always a magical Moment to beat when a heart starts up again, especially after a transplant,” says René Prêtre.

However, Prêtre is not operated in Zurich alone, the hearts of children. He’s trying to save his reputation.

The Romandie is already a step further:

in mid-may, the children’s hospital of Zurich, had to justify, because the mortality rate was higher in the case of a special Operation at the children’s heart during years of higher than in clinics abroad. The bad Numbers came from the time, as Prêtre in Zurich, was employed. The mortality in the so-called hypoplastic left heart syndrome was in Zurich at 39 per cent – twice as high as in foreign clinics.

What is René Prêtre says to this finding? The experience plays an important role. “If a heart surgeon can’t perform with his Team at least one such Operation per month, he will never get the necessary Routine.” Prêtre therefore argues that children’s heart surgery into specialist centres should be merged. “Countries such as Sweden have led the way: in Order to increase the quality of the interventions, you have to centralize the children’s surgery.”

In comparison to the German part of Switzerland and the Romandie already a step further. Here are the Teams of the children’s heart surgery from Geneva and Lausanne, Centre Romand were merged. A centralization in favour of quality, however, is politically difficult. Because of the heart surgery a lot of Prestige is associated. Prêtre: “If a hospital can perform these difficult operations, this gives people the feeling that the medical supply is very good.”