“That is no marketing strategy!”

An interview with Thomas Düll, chairman of the Bezirkskliniken Schwaben

by Lina Koch,  2013/12/09

Being, from time to time, confronted with human fates, which cannot be relieved by large scale relief measures and which need individual help and care seems to be in the nature of aid organizations like humedica. In these cases, the humedica aid for individuals comes into action.

In cooperation with Prof. Christian Wirtz, medical director of the neurosurgical clinic of the district hospital in Günzburg, humedica makes free surgery possible for certain cases.

Thomas Düll, chairman of the Bezirkskliniken Schwaben talks about his role in the process of help in individual cases and explains, why his contribution doesn’t have anything to do with corporate policy.

Mr Düll, how was the contact between the district hospital Günzburg and humedica created?

The Bezirksklinikum Günzburg has been committed to humanitarian aid for years. After a change of directors in our house, I asked our new medical director, Prof. Christian Wirtz if he wanted to do anything in this field, too.

He was immediately enthused, yet he didn’t have any contacts to aid organizations. Therefore, I launched the contact with humedica.

Contacting you was a deliberate choice I made, because for me it is important to support a regional organization which I already know well, because I have personally sponsored its relief projects for many years already.

In the context of the humedica individual aid – how do you decide, which surgery will be executed and which won’t?

Well, at first hand, this question must be answered by the doctors. Our team deliberates upon the question if, from the medical point of view, a surgery makes sense or not. If an intervention is too risky for the patient or if the chances of success are very small, we advise against it. However, we always discuss very intensively about the chances of every single case.

I can remember a little Ethiopian girl who suffered from a serious deformation. After having discussed all possibilities, unfortunately, we had to realize that a surgery would be too dangerous and that she would benefit of an only minor improvement in her life circumstances. That’s why we didn’t want to expect her to endure the great stress of such a surgical intervention.

But apart from this case, we have treated all the patients who were brought to us. For example, there was Sister Catherine Bokini from Benin, whose life circumstances have improved dramatically, after a surgery that had been very risky, too. In this case, we weighed pros against cons and, retrospectively, took the right decision.

In the end, who pays for these interventions?

Our corporation alone pays for these interventions. Like for any other patient, we make an internal accountance which is being charged off on our balance sheet. Thus, we cover all potential hospital invoices.

So, are these interventions part of the corporate policy?

Not at all. We offer these interventions for free because we are convinced that we, as a big health service provider, must place our know-how at the disposal of those people, who wouldn’t have any chance, otherwise, to profit from it. There is no marketing strategy or the like behind all this – that is a mere act of humanity and charity.

At what time do you, as chairman of the Bezirkskliniken Schwaben, come into action in the context of the help for individual cases?

On the whole, I act as intermediary or door opener, if you want to call it so. When humedica asks me for help in an individual case, I forward this request to Prof. Wirtz and his surgery team and hand over the responsibility to them.

Because of the size of our corporation – we employ more than 3,400 people - I am, unfortunately, not able to keep an eye on the whole process. But of course, I keep informed about the success of the intervention and the patient’s state of health.

Thank you very much for your time and the interesting interview, Mr. Düll. We wish you the very best for your work and your future. God bless you.

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