Lives of the fellows

Johannes Brodehl

b.20 October 1931 d.2 September 2006
Dr med(1956) Privat-Dozent(1967) FRCP(1994)

Johannes Brodehl was a consultant paediatric nephrologist and scientific researcher in Hannover, Germany. He studied medicine at the Free University in Berlin from 1950 to 1956 and continued with scholarships from the Ventnor Foundation in the USA, and later from 1958 to 1960 at the German Research Foundation (DFG, Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft) in Kiel. His career as a paediatrician began in 1960 at the University Children’s Hospital in Bonn.

In 1970 he was made head of department at the University Children’s Hospital in Hannover, where he worked until his retirement in 1997. In 1981 he accepted the chair of professor of paediatrics. It was of special concern to Johannes Brodehl that the Children’s Hospital of Hannover Medical School should develop as a unit, gaining an international reputation.

The focal point of his scientific work was above all paediatric kidney and metabolic disorders. He helped both these specialties gain national and international recognition. In 1971, the first meeting of German paediatricians with a special interest in renal diseases was held in Hannover, and subsequently the first collaborative study on the treatment of nephrotic syndrome in children was started. In 1974, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Pädiatrische Nephrologie (the Working Party for Paediatric Nephrology) was founded in Stuttgart. Johannes Brodehl was elected as its first secretary general and directed the organisation for many years. At the same time he conducted several multi-centre trials, mainly in nephrotic syndrome. In 1983, he hosted the sixth international symposium of the International Pediatric Nephrology Association in Hannover.

As president of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin (DGKJ) (German Society for Child and Adolescent Health), he led the amalgamation of paediatric societies from West and East Germany after the fall of the Wall in 1989. It was due to his initiative that the Freiburg medical historian Eduard Seidler completed a comprehensive documentation on the injustices carried out by the DGKJ on its Jewish members in Nazi Germany.

Following his retirement he was the general secretary of Deutsche Akademie für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin. Johannes Brodehl was open to the health reforms in Germany, but warned against hasty and ill-considered decisions.

For almost 30 years his excellent clinical skills were in great demand in and around Hannover. His first priority was always the best possible care of his paediatric patients. The Children’s Hospital of the Hannover Medical School, the children and their families, as well as his co-workers, have much to thank him for and will remember him with great respect for his life’s work. He is survived by his wife, Karin, his three sons, daughter, and three grandchildren.

Jochen H H Ehrich

(Volume XII, page web)

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