Klewel | The beginning of life, A neonatologist’s View(s)
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The beginning of life, A neonatologist’s View(s)

  |   health, healthcare professionals, Highlight, switzerland, technology   |   No comment

The 2019 Annual Conference of the Swiss Society of Neonatology addressed Challenges in Perinatal Medicine. Young pediatricians and neonatologists as well as nurses, midwives and obstetricians actively participated and presented their research.

Prof. Thomas M. Berger, Medical Doctor, past member of the board of the Swiss Society of Neonatology gave this talk entitled “The beginning of life, A neonatologist’s View(s)” at the Annual meeting as well as a year earlier at the national ethics committee here in Switzerland.



Through his talk, he addresses this question: Do we really want all those fascinating technnological medical progress — if we take a global perspective ? He talked about beginning of life versus personhood.

He thinks that the question “when does life begin” is not really relevant for a neonatologist. The question is more “what is the best to do in the interest of the patient”.TB-slide8
His answer: “I do not know when life begins, I think this is the wrong question actually”:  The question in neonatology is “what is the best to do in the interest of the patient”TB-slide50He mentionned the conflict between right to life vs right to abortion. He thinks medical progress has reached amazing levels, but on the other hand, he is “also a little bit concerned about what we are doing”:


He pointed in slide 55 that we have a global problem that we cannot simply ignore. The gap between high income and low & middle income countries is enormous:


“The best interest of the patient is the only interest to consider. It is true for Switzerland but also for Africa.”

With more than 25 years of experience in neonatology in various high-income countries, he wants to share his knowledge with physicians and nurses in less privileged countries. Helping to improve neonatal care at the Rundu State Hospital in the North of Namibia has become his passion.

He founded Neo For Namibia – Helping Babies Survive is a non-profit organization based in Switzerland that focuses on the implementation of simple medical interventions that are known to improve survival rates of newborn infants.

Prof. Thomas M. Berger has been in charge of selecting the cases of the month and publish them on the neonet website for Swiss neonatologists.

This year, the 2nd Annual Humanitarian Neonatology Award was given to:

  • Barbara and Congsor Deak (Zurich): Néonatologie Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, Haiti
  • Matthias Roth-Kleiner (Lausanne): Souffle2Vie, Guinea

Best short presentation – Chloé Tenthorey et al. (Lausanne)
Discharge teaching quality, readiness for discharge, and post-discharge healthcare utilization in mothers of hospitalized neonates from a Swiss NICU: a correlational descriptive study

Talk given in French:


Abstracts 2019 in PDF.


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