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How many people owe their lives to him? Christoph Preuss cannot answer this question. He has been working as a doctor at the Wolfratshauser Klinik for more than 25 years, and the 56-year-old has been on the road as an emergency doctor between Icking and Königsdorf, Münsing and Dietramszell for just as long. How many men, women and children he provided medical care in often dramatic situations during this time cannot be quantified. What is certain, however, is that Preuss, who is now also the chief emergency doctor, looks after one of the most intensive areas in Upper Bavaria.
This is due on the one hand to the population density, on the other hand to the relatively high average age of the citizens - and the fact that recreational areas and the motorway are in its operational area. If a bomb is found, like recently in Geretsried, does a nursing home have to be evacuated or there are other so-called "major incidents", Preuss also moves out.
And sometimes that is not only due to his function as an emergency doctor. Because Preuss is also a member of the Icking volunteer fire brigade: "There are very good synergy effects when you are at home in both structures, fire brigade and emergency medicine," he says. As a result, it can happen at any time that the beeper rings and Preuss jumps up - even in a council meeting in which he also spends some evenings as a CSU representative on a voluntary basis.
Preuss has been at home in the Isartal community since he was two. As a local council, he wants to work to ensure "that Icking is preserved as it is and as it was". He was born in Boston, USA, "because my parents were over there at the time," he says. That is why he has dual citizenship - "and always takes part in the presidential elections, including the youngest ones," he says. "If you have a democratic right to vote, you should use it."
He showed social commitment at an early age: at the age of 14 he went to the fire brigade, at 16 to the Red Cross. He made his Abitur in Geretsried. He made the decision to get involved first for the Junge Union and later for the CSU on the one hand from a "basic attitude" and on the other hand from a "youthful protest attitude": "Actually, I am a pacifist." When the Cold War came to a head at the end of the 1970s and the NATO double resolution promoted by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt resulted in an arms race, he wanted to position himself politically. "My parents, I have to say, weren't so on the black side." He had "represented a political-democratic stance and also wanted to stand up for the interests of young people," which is why the Junge Union offered him a home.
Although Preuss comes from a doctor's household, studying medicine was initially not an option for him. "I didn't want to do what my parents did," he says. "Instead, I came to nursing through community service, which I did at a neurological clinic, and I felt very comfortable there." Preuss worked in the intensive care unit in Großhadern, but after a while he wanted to continue studying. He decided to study medicine and financed it by continuing to work as a nurse. "This double burden wasn't easy," he says. However, he was able to gain a lot of practical experience.
After graduating, he worked as a doctor in Großhadern for another six months. When a position at the Wolfratshauser Klinik became available, he successfully applied. "I've never regretted the step. I feel good here," he says. The fact that, as senior physician in the internal medicine department, he is also responsible for emergency medicine, "just happened" in his words. Of course, emergency operations are very demanding: "The adrenaline is pumping and you have to work in a very structured way at the same time." To remain calm in some accidents, "that is only possible in a team".
One of his first missions was a serious traffic accident that a young woman did not survive. In retrospect, it turned out that the fire brigade colleague, who had stood by the dying woman until the end, knew the woman well: she had been his dance partner at the May celebration. Then it became clear to him that aftercare was needed, says Preuss. So he made contacts - and initiated the now widely established emergency psychosocial care for emergency services. "It has proven useful to sit down and talk through the whole thing after a tough job," he says. He, too, deal with the bad aspects of his job through conversations.
In an acute emergency, a structural approach is particularly important. "During resuscitation, for example, the number of times someone presses is counted, and counting doesn’t make you think about what’s happening to the person." Such mechanisms are just as important as communication about what everyone is doing. "That makes it rational," he describes.
In addition, his job also has bright sides: It is not uncommon for patients to come to see him later to thank their lifesaver. "And that makes you very happy." In addition, it is the honorary positions that are a compensation for him at the end of the day - besides the family. In some discussions in the local council you can pull your hair. "But the bottom line is that you want to make a difference for your homeland, for your village, to preserve it, to offer young people a perspective." When something good comes out in the end, it is always a feeling of elation: "Whether it is the patient who gets well or the community that blossoms."
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