At just eleven days old, Lotte is probably the youngest patient ever to undergo successful heart surgery of such complexity without receiving blood from a donor. For the operation at the Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin (DHZB), a heart-lung machine specially developed for newborns was used. For years, DHZB surgeons and paediatric cardiologists have been working on systems that do not require donor blood. This minimizes the risks of infection and intolerance, and allows patients to recover more quickly. The DHZB is currently the only heart centre worldwide to routinely use these systems. More information about the DHZB can be found here. More information about the DHZB can be found here.
Neuroscientist and stroke expert Professor Ulrich Dirnagl has received the 2016 Berlin Science Award. The accolade pays tribute to his numerous research contributions in the field of stroke research, cerebral blood flow and cerebral imaging. An internationally renowned scientist, he heads the Experimental Neurology department at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and is the director of the Center for Stroke Research Berlin. The award is endowed with 40,000 euros. More information about the Charité can be found here.
Since December 2016, Berlin has had an ultra-modern biobank, giving the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) access to a storage facility that is unique in Germany. In future, it will be possible to store up to two million lab samples from patients in the new building at the Campus Virchow-Klinikum and make them available for research purposes. Together with the corresponding treatment data, the biological material will be collected, encrypted and stored. The collection will allow the progression and causes of diseases to be better studied in future, and new personalized therapies to be developed. More information about the Charité can be found here.
Modern healthcare concepts are all about preventing disease in the first place. Exercise and a healthy diet are important preventive measures, as are regular check-ups of key organs such as the heart and lungs – to ensure that serious diseases can be detected at an early stage. Many hospitals and medical practices in Berlin are specially geared to patients who visit the city for a course of medical check-ups. Offering everything from short routine examinations to full organ analyses, they provide an outstanding service with no waiting times.
If there is any suspicion that a patient is suffering from a disease, Berlin’s hospitals and medical practices use the very latest diagnostic techniques, such as CT, MRI and X-ray, to check. Cardiovascular diagnostics, bowel and breast cancer screenings and cutting-edge laboratory methods are also employed.
When patients require a particular course of treatment, they will find everything they need in Berlin’s numerous hospitals – from basic care to high-end medicine. Straightforward plastic surgery is performed safely and professionally. Complicated heart surgery, joint replacement or a bone marrow or liver transplant are also on offer.
Children with their special therapeutic requirements are also treated with the greatest expertise and care in the city’s hospitals. The Charité offers a programme for children suffering from rare or serious diseases that is unique in Germany. Interdisciplinary teams of doctors are on hand to ensure the right diagnosis. Suitable treatment is then performed immediately so that the young patients can return home as quickly as possible.
There are more than 90 hospitals with roughly 22,000 beds in Berlin. They provide their patients with the complete spectrum of medical care. Complex treatment and surgery are performed using highly specialized medical equipment. Inpatients benefit from close and precise monitoring and care at all times. Berlin’s hospitals offer diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care in all specialist medical fields and for virtually every conceivable medical condition.
Hospitals in Berlin differ in terms of size and specialization. Apart from those offering primary care, there are hospitals specialized in particular diseases such as cardiological or orthopaedic conditions. Then there are what are known as maximum-level care providers, which treat complex and complicated conditions in line with the latest scientific findings. These include all of the Charité’s sites, plus some of the Vivantes and Helios hospitals. University hospitals like the Charité additionally combine their work with scientific research and teaching.
Medical rehabilitation is a medical discipline in its own right in Germany, and is on offer in specialist hospitals. Its aim is to fully restore patients to health so that they can again cope with their personal and work lives under their own steam. Rehabilitation takes place following cardiovascular operations and includes an exercise and diet regime to ensure that the patient can lead a healthier life again. After orthopaedic surgery, patients have to relearn motor skills, while oncological rehabilitation is designed to teach patients how to make the necessary lifestyle changes.
In terms of their organizational structure, Berlin’s hospitals are run by various institutions – some public, some private and others non-profit. Though this makes no difference when it comes to providing high-quality medical care, the style of and approach to patient care may differ from one hospital to another.
Berlin combines centuries of medical tradition with the very latest medical developments. Medical history has been made over the years by the pioneering specialists at Berlin’s Charité – who include Rudolf Virchow, Robert Koch and Paul Ehrlich. As a research institution, the Charité has produced more than half of all Germany’s Nobel laureates in physiology and medicine. Thanks to its numerous outstanding projects and research units at the German Research Foundation (DFG), it remains one of Germany’s most research-intensive medical facilities to this day.
Basic clinical research plays a fundamental role when it comes to tackling ever new medical challenges, as do key disciplines in IT and nanotechnology. Every day, the close cooperation between clinical practitioners and researchers yields medical innovations that directly benefit patients. A thriving start-up scene is constantly searching for digital solutions in the area of healthcare, which additionally accelerates the pace of medical innovation in Berlin.
Berlin is one of Europe’s leading centres of science and research, thanks in particular to its focus on medicine, medical technology, biotechnology, optical technologies, information and communication technologies. Young people from all over the world come to Berlin to learn, research and teach, attracted by the city’s four universities, the Charité teaching hospital, seven universities of applied sciences and over 30 private universities.
Technology parks ensure intensive collaboration between researchers and practitioners. More than 1,000 companies, ten non-university research centres and Humboldt-Universität’s Campus Adlershof are based at the Berlin Adlershof Science City, for example. This makes Adlershof one of the most successful high-tech hubs in Germany. Over 15,000 people work at this well-developed urban site, which is also home to over 6,500 students.
Covering 31,000 square metres, Campus Berlin-Buch is one of Germany’s largest biotech parks, combining basic and medical research with a particular focus on biotechnology and biomedicine. A dedicated centre provides support to start-ups, and numerous life sciences companies are based here. The campus atmosphere is conducive to intensive technology transfer and makes interdisciplinary projects possible.
All national research organizations – such as the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG), the Helmholtz Association (HGF), the Leibniz Association (WGL) and the Max Planck Society – are represented in Berlin, each of them with several institutes. Founded in 2009, the Einstein Foundation Berlin promotes science and research at the highest international level with a view to establishing Berlin long-term as an attractive centre for science.
Anyone wishing to become a doctor in Germany has to complete a university degree in human medicine. Strictly regulated, the course takes roughly six years. Successful graduates acquire the title “doctor”. They can then apply for a licence to practise medicine. A doctor can subsequently take further qualifications in a particular specialist field to acquire the title “medical specialist”. It is also possible to take a PhD and acquire the (German) title “Dr. med.”. By taking a professorial qualification at a university, a doctor can become a “professor”. Doctors who have acquired this professorial qualification but do not currently have a chair at a university may be known as “Privatdozenten” (literally “private lecturers”), or “PD” for short.
For international patients, it is important to understand that doctors in Germany are not allowed to treat patients unless they have a licence to practise medicine. This protects patients from being treated by persons without sufficient knowledge.
Even if a doctor does not have a title such as “Dr” or “Professor”, this does not mean in Germany that they are not a doctor. Every doctor who works in a hospital will always have passed all the examinations required by law, and as such is qualified to treat patients regardless of whether they have the “Dr” title or not.
Some 1.2 million people work as nurses in Germany. In Berlin, around 42,000 nurses in hospitals provide care to patients, as well as to sick and older people in outpatient care facilities. Training of nurses is regulated by law and takes three years, with an examination at the end. Qualified nurses can then embark on further training, specializing for example in areas such as surgery or intensive care. Nurses have sound medical knowledge, and tend to have extensive professional experience of dealing with patients. Quality-oriented hospitals attach great important to the further training of their nursing staff. They make additional courses available to them, as well as refresher courses aimed at keeping their skills up-to-date, e.g. in the area of wound treatment or hygiene.
Patients in hospitals can always turn to a nurse with any question, be it of a medical, personal or social nature. Many Berlin hospitals provide multilingual care, employing international nurses who are able to talk to patients in their native languages. Where this is not possible, an interpreter can often be provided.