A flexible surgery on wheels

CHT Germany GmbH supports the DRK's mobile doctor's unit

Lisa Federle, MD, emergency doctor and president of the Tübingen District Association of the German Red Cross (DRK), had the idea for a rolling medical practice when a growing number of refugees had to be cared for in the district of Tübingen in 2015. She intensively accompanied the Ergenzing reception centre for refugees, which the DRK district association had set up within a very short time. Together with other doctors, she offered on-site consultations there and in the other large accommodations for refugees in the district, to ensure basic health care. The idea was that a mobile practice would make it easier to reduce fear of entering and at the same time relieve doctors, outpatient clinics and the ambulance service.

The publisher of the Schwäbisches Tagblatt, Elisabeth Frate, was immediately convinced by the idea and made the doctor's mobile part of the newspaper's Christmas donation campaign. The district administration, the university hospital, the regional council and the DRK district association as the project organiser were also involved. With their donations, the readers of the local newspaper set a record that was not thought possible. Within a few weeks, 70,000 euros were collected. Before Christmas, the mobile doctor was able to make its first trips to the refugee shelters. The motorhome manufacturer Hymer participated in the project by converting the vehicle at cost price in record time: a changing room, desk, consultation corner, treatment bed, ECG, ultrasound machine were installed in the vehicle. The mobile doctor then visited a total of 16 locations on a regular basis.

With the decline in the number of refugees, the need for these services dwindled. At the beginning of 2018, the mobile doctor was therefore additionally deployed to provide medical care for the homeless, including consultation hours in front of the men's hostel in Tübingen. A dentist was also on board.

With the start of the Corona pandemic, the rolling medical practice faced a new challenge. Already at the beginning of March 2020, the vehicle was ready, first at the Tübingen mountain cemetery and later at the fairground, to take swabs for an examination for Corona infections. After containers had been set up on the fairground for this purpose, the mobile doctor set course for the nursing homes in the region. Long before this was possible nationwide, the staff and residents of inpatient care facilities in the region were tested for infections in this way.

Dr Lisa Federle recently received the Federal Cross of Merit for this commitment as well. In the laudation by the German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, it says: "The rolling doctor's practice has served as a showcase to this day. Without much lead time, it was able to be equipped with a mobile testing station at the outbreak of the Corona pandemic and immediately deployed to care facilities whose situation was particularly difficult."

However, free tests for travellers have since been abolished.

Therefore, the doctor now wants to offer Corona tests for people who do not have enough money to pay 128 euros for such a test out of their own pocket, but want to be sure they are not a danger before visiting elderly people. For them, Dr Lisa Federle is now collecting donations to be able to offer free tests in such cases.

Dr Federle's call was responded to directly. At Christmas 2020, the CHT Group made a central donation to support the "Arztmobil" of the German Red Cross. In addition, company and employees took advantage of the VAT reduction on canteen prices to donate the difference to the Arztmobil as well. The total donation of 22,000 euros has now been handed over to Lisa Federle. The Management of the CHT Group is pleased about the extremely important use.

Dr Frank Naumann, Chairman of the Executive Board, comments: "Interrupting infection chains is a key factor in containing the pandemic. We are already making a contribution to this with appropriate chemical solutions for antiviral and antimicrobial coating of textile surfaces. Beyond that, however, the actions of all of us and the commitment of Dr. Federle individually are important. We are therefore particularly pleased to be able to make a contribution directly here and now."


Dr. Frank Naumann (left), Dr. Lisa Federle (mid), Axel Breitling (right)