Professor Erich-Dieter Schwilden 1939 – 2008
|Erich-Dieter Schwilden died on May 27, 2008 after a prolonged illness. His death leaves an empty place in the hearts of relatives, friends, the AIVS members and among his colleagues in vascular surgery.
Erich-Dieter was born in Aachen on May 10, 1939, studied medicine in Vienna and Freiburg. It was as an intern in Prof van Dongen in Sittard that he became enthused by vascular medicine. He began specialty training in surgery in 1971 under the auspices of Martin Reifferscheid (1917-1993) at the University of Aachen.
Here he tried to promote vascular surgery, independently of general surgery, unfortunately without success – the time was just not ripe.
He moved back to Holland in 1973 to join Prof van Dongen at the University Clinic for Surgery in Utrecht and then Amsterdam.
His main area of interest was the splanchnic circulation and those surgeons belonging to the Amsterdam School were forerunners in Western Europe.
From 1976 he played a decisive role in the Amsterdam Vascular Surgery Operation and Training courses. A certificate of participation in the van-Dongen course had a legendary reputation in Europe.
In 1979 he was asked to found and direct the Department of Vascular Surgery at the municipal hospital in Esslingen, Germany, which he accepted. He was able to establish a modern vascular unit of international renown in a municipal hospital. Young physicians came from all over Europe, the USA, Japan and Brazil to learn from him.
In Esslingen he continued his scientific activities and cultivated his participation in professional associations. In 1991 the van Dongen Course, in which 700 young European physicians participated, relocated to the Esslingen city hall.
In 1994 he was President of our Association of International Vascular Surgeons.
In 2005, one year after his retirement, Erich-Dieter received the honorary title of Professor.
Eric Dieter leaves, beside his friends and colleagues, his wife Irene and three grown sons. They accompanied him during his life and his illness with utmost devotion. Even in his last years, marked by his illness, he remained active on the advisory board of the friends and sponsors of the municipal hospital in Esslingen.
In November 2007, seriously ill, he held the laudation for his late teacher René van Dongen at the Vascular Surgery Symposium in Berlin.
To have had him as a friend was an invaluable gift to all of us in the AIVS.