Personalia

Laudatio Professor Resch

Magnificence, dear Professor Resch, dear Herbert,

a laudation, no, he does not want to hear such a thing! Professor Resch is much too modest for that. He abhors vanity.
But a laudation is something different from a farewell speech, just as an emeritus position is different from a retirement. Only popes, bishops, cathedral chaplains and university professors become emeritus, all others are retired.
In this respect, dear Herbert, you can now also enjoy the laudation, you will only be emeritus.

But where should I start with the laudation? You are not only one of the world's most prominent shoulder surgeons, you are also the head of the Department of Trauma Surgery and Sports Traumatology at the Salzburg University Hospital "SALK" and, even more importantly, the founding rector of the Paracelsus Medical Private University in Salzburg.
All these offices with their work variety let the listeners already guess that now a litany of honors is coming up to you. However, I would like to cut this short and focus on what really distinguishes you, what has driven and motivated you.
The previous lectures have already highlighted the clinical-scientific oeuvre of Prof. Resch. If one searches Prof. Resch in Pub Med, 84 articles are reported for the shoulder field and 156 for trauma. This shows two things:
Prof. Resch was not only a specialist, but also at home in the entire field of traumatology.

And secondly, science was written in capital letters in his department, even before it was university-based. For example, he " forced" the residents to do research, but on the other hand he also rewarded them with bonuses for impact points.

He exemplified transparency and evidence in research. He had independent Swedish scientists, whom he had invited to Salzburg, examine his patients and published the results under their names. That's what I call honest!


Let's stay with his publications. It is noticeable that Resch was never mainstream, never ran after the surgical fashions, but always went his own way. And that, in turn, is related to his constant urge to get to the bottom of things.

Nobody explains the humeral head fracture better than the Resch School. That's where the fracture morphology is combined with the fracture mechanism, and instead of using a plate, which only allows two-dimensional working, a percutaneous fixation system (humeral block) is introduced, which allows three-dimensional refixation.

As an trauma surgery neighbor, I see many x-rays of shoulder fractures operated elsewhere in Munich. Nowhere is the difficult art of humeral head fracture treatment as mastered as in Austria. This is because, starting with the first shoulder surgery courses in Innsbruck in the 1980s and after more than 22 years of the "Salzburg Shoulder Forum", there is already a 2nd generation of shoulder surgeons in Austria who have understood what Prof. Resch taught them.

When I asked Prof. Resch what the biggest disappointment in his surgical career was, he answered the misguided development in plate osteosynthesis of the humeral head fracture. Despite high complication rates, the industry pushed an expensive open surgical technique onto the market that was inferior to percutaneous fixation. As a physician, Prof. Resch could not justify this form of market policy for his patients.

Let us move on to a more pleasant experience. His fundamental knowledge of humeral head fracture was honored in 2010 at the World Shoulder Congress in Edinburgh with an invited lecture in honor of the American pioneer and founding father of shoulder surgery, Ernest Codman. The Codman Lecture is the greatest scientific recognition that can be awarded to a shoulder surgeon.

In Europe, Resch, together with Professor Gschwend and Didier Patte , with Gilles Walch and Christian Gerber, was one of the founding fathers of the European Society for Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, of which he became Congress President and Society President in the following years. Under his leadership, the Society opened up to Eastern Europe and underwent a process of democratization.

The American Association of Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons nominated him as a
Corresponding Member, and we neighbors in Germany are also pleased to have elected him as an Honorary Member of the German Association for Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. Guest professorships have taken him to Italy, Switzerland and Columbia University in New York.

But why go so far, when the good things are so close! I am thinking of the Shoulder Forum, which has been held annually in Salzburg since 1993. Always on the 1st weekend of Advent, Prof. Resch called together the Austrian shoulder surgeons to question one or two special topics down to the very core together with selected guests. This was pure Resch school and nowhere else at the congresses was the discussion as open and honest as here.

But with all his specialization, one should not overlook the fact that Prof. Resch was appointed head of the Department of Trauma Surgery and Sports Traumatology at the Salzburg State Hospital in 1993. As a trauma surgeon, he felt his primary obligation. Traumatology was the foundation on which he stood as a surgeon.

He also assumed association functions in trauma surgery. He was vice president of the Austrian AO from 1999 - 2007 and he was its society president in 2005 as well as congress president of the German-speaking Working Society for Arthroscopy in 2006.

Under his leadership, the University Department of Trauma Surgery and Sports Traumatology was certified as a supraregional trauma center in the German Trauma Network. This makes the Salzburg Regional Hospital the only Austrian institution to belong to the highest care level of trauma centers and it qualified for this through an extremely elaborate certification process.

Now what was Prof. Resch like as a leader? I quote a former co-worker : " He did set a straight line and trim his team, but in the end he always showed compassion and "mercy". He enjoyed full respect of the staff because he got along well with all professional groups and was recognized by all as a "good leader".

And what kind of surgeon was he?
"Never give up!"
Herbert always looked for solutions. No matter how difficult they were, he always tried to help the patients and never left the patient alone. To say "there is nothing more you can do" did not exist for him.

When I asked him what he considers to be his greatest achievement, he said that, together with Prof. Julian Frick, it was the accreditation of Paracelsus Medical University in 2002, for which he also received the honorary medal of the state of Salzburg for founding the university.

What will and courage is needed to make the vision of founding a university a reality? It takes an original, an unchallenged leader to do the convincing and to get everyone on board. Only those who are willing to remove the most difficult obstacles can convince the doubters.
Everything was managed, the financing, an innovative curriculum and the quality standards. Today, the PMU is one of the most popular and sought-after medical universities in Europe.

Representing everyone in the room, I can say with one look back:
Your patients, your staff, your students and the faculty are greatly indebted to you. You gave endless hours of your life in the service of medicine, but you enjoyed those moments as a man. You got the strength it took from your dear family.

Held by Prof. Dr. Peter Habermeyer on the occasion of the emeritus retirement of Prof. Dr. Resch at the end of May 2015.