Collective thought - Issue 147 - Magazine | Monocle

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As head of the neurosurgical oncology team at the University Hospital of Bern, Philippe Schucht treats patients with brain cancer, among others. It would be easy to assume that his job is a morbid one but this isn’t how he sees it. “My work is joyful,” he says. “Every day I give my patients hope again.”

There are countless different elements required of Schucht in his work – he is also head of research and education at the hospital. And besides knowing the complexities of the brain, maintaining vital self-belief and staying physically dextrous during lengthy operations (some run for as long as 12 hours), Schucht also needs to be able to empathise with his patients. “I need to understand how surgery will affect their quality of life,” he says, emphasising that simply keeping someone alive isn’t always enough. “If I am treating a writer, I need to appreciate how important it is to safeguard the language and speech functions in their brain.”

Schucht also needs to understand his team. This ranges from collaborating with his departmental director, the “mastermind” Andreas Raabe, to working with the scrub nurses who assist during surgery and the radiologists who create and analyse brain scans. “We have to appreciate one another’s interests, our strengths and weaknesses,” says Schucht. “This is how you can do the most for the people in your care.”


The Cabinet (From left to right)

Binaya Shrestha, Radiation oncologist,“Helps prevent the recurrence of cancer.”

Sandra Perny, Speech therapist,“Deals with patients undergoing conscious surgery for tumours near areas that affect speech.”

Dörthe Heinemann, Neuropsychologist,“Ensures that patients can retain their full cognitive capacity.”

Adrian Ochsenbein, Chief oncologist, “Works to lower the risk that cancer will return.”

Vladimir Krejci, Head of neuro-anaesthesia, “Helps to make our patients fall asleep.”

Andrea Mathis, Scientific co-ordinator,“Manages many of our scientific projects.”

Anne Leyh, Medical technician,“Safeguards patients’ neurological functions during surgery.”

Kathleen Seidel, Senior neurosurgeon,“Helps to monitor brain functions in operations.”

Katharina Lutz, Senior neurosurgeon,“The one who cares for the children.”

Sabine Molls, Advanced nurse practitioner,“Provides holistic patient care.”

Franca Wagner, Neuroradiologist,“Reveals what’s hidden in the brain.”

Sarah Wyss, MRI assistant,“Helps to produce diagnostic images of a patient using the mri.”

Sandra Briner, Physiotherapist,“Gets you back on track after surgery.”

Nicole Söll, Data manager,“Master of capturing information.”

Lena Giger, Intermediate care,“She’s the person who always cares for you when you need it most.”

Kyaw Zayar Myo Thein, Neurosurgeon- in-training,“Joined us from Myanmar through the Swiss Neurosurgeons International scheme.”

Mario Graf, Chief scrub nurse,“Keeps it all running smoothly.”

Tania Carvalho Secretary,“Gets anything done.”

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