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Happy Birthday, DGTHG!
This is a very special Editorial for a very special issue of the journal of a very special society.
Almost exactly 50 years ago, on January 9, 1971, a small but distinguished group of German surgeons met in the Steigenberger Hotel Unterschweinstiege, just north of the Frankfurt/Main Airport. Today the venue is known as the Steigenberger Airport Hotel, a modern affair with the 230-year-old forester's lodge “Unterschweinstiege”, one of the restaurants, as a remnant of former old-world style and Gemütlichkeit. It was this particular seclusion (out in the woods but still easy to reach in the middle of West Germany) which attracted a bunch of conspirators to convene there from places as far apart as Hamburg and Munich.
The group comprised 11 men: Wolfgang Bircks, Hans Georg Borst, Paul Gall, Hans-Eberhard Hoffmeister, Josef Koncz, Georg-Wilhelm Rodewald, Peter Satter, Volker Schlosser, Fritz Sebening, and Kurd Stapenhorst (in alphabetical order) came to Frankfurt. Werner Klinner was unable to attend but sent a notice saying that he would be spiritually present and therefore support any decision reached.
What was it all about, then? In the preceding roughly 10 years, it had become apparent to many surgeons interested in the rapidly developing field of cardiovascular surgery that the scientific society representing all surgeons, the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Chirurgie (German Surgical Society, DGCh)” was increasingly unable or unwilling to cover their budding interests and concerns. The goal therefore was to establish a new scientific society which would care for all matters related to the young specialty regarding teaching, research, and clinical care, including an emphasis on advanced professional surgical training. And thus the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Thorax-, Herz- und Gefäßchirurgie (“German Society for Thoracic, Cardiac and Vascular Surgery,” DGTHG) was born then and there. Grudgingly, the mother society had to accept the unwanted but nevertheless very self-confident child, the rapid growth of which was probably fostered by the energetic personality inherent to most cardiothoracic surgeons. The rest is history, meanwhile spanning the said 50 years.
Originally, it was planned to have a worthy birthday celebration in conjunction with the annual meeting in 2021. Due to pandemic-inflicted restrictions, the meeting will go ahead as a virtual one, but there is no substitute for a big party. Accordingly, this was postponed to, hopefully, 2022. At the same time, it was decided to also postpone the publication of the “Festschrift,” although it was ready in its final tracks. Something else to look forward to next year.
The Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon, then still called “Thoraxchirurgie und Vaskuläre Chirurgie” and published in German, became the official scientific publication of the DGTHG as early as in 1973. It is therefore with gratitude that the journal, the publisher and the editorial staff, wish the DGTHG a very happy 50th birthday. Thank you for supporting us during all these years and enabling the continuous dynamic development of a print organ, now looking back at 68 years itself.
We have designed the first issue in 2021 as an Anniversary Issue, reflecting the broad spectrum of our shared history. It is a sizable collection of review and original articles, covering many, many aspects of cardiothoracic surgery but also training issues as well as scientific publication patterns. Highly original features on Galen, on developing countries' needs, and why the way to man's heart may well be through the stomach complement the colorful picture of our common interests right up to and including the COVID-19 impact.
Let us keep calm and carry on… and then have the joint really jumping in 2022! See you there!
22 February 2021 (online)
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