When, at the end of my time as a foundation doctor at the Elisabethinen hospital in Klagenfurt, Carinthia, I had to decide which specialty I wanted to pursue, I was faced with the choice between general medicine or surgery. I could very well imagine a future as a country doctor with close contact to the patients, because I have always been interested not only in the health or illness of people, but also in their life story, which are often interconnected.
On the other hand, I was also fascinated by surgery and the ability to sometimes cure seriously ill patients by performing challenging surgical procedures or to at least improve their quality of life. Ultimately, I decided to train as a specialist in surgery and visceral surgery. Many years followed as a senior physician at AKH Vienna. At the Barmherzige Brüder Hospital in St. Veit / Glan and at Barmherzigen Brüder Hospital in Vienna, I was the head of the surgical departments.
My particular interest has always been in the implementation of minimally invasive surgery (“surgery involving small incisions”), especially in the area of tumour surgery in patients with colorectal cancer, in order to keep the burden on the patient as low, uncomplicated and as painless as possible during and after the operation. I was also interested in gallbladder, hernia and thyroid surgery. During this time, I became aware of how crucial the area of preventive medicine is, in particular colorectal cancer screening, and how many of my patients could have been saved from the diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Preventive colonoscopy therefore has a particularly important place in my practice.
In everyday hospital life, between gastroscopies and colonoscopies in the outpatient clinic and time-consuming operations, there is often hardly any time left for a longer conversation with the patient. Everyone knows the patient's illness, but hardly anyone knows the patient. It is only when I started to work in my practice that I was able to realise my idea of being a doctor. I can dedicate my time to the health / preventive measures or illness of my patients AND the people behind them in order to provide them with the best possible medical advice and support.