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The lifework of Erich Saling – the father of perinatal medicine
Aim. To present the lifework of Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h. c. mult. Erich Saling, obstetrician and perinatologist, with regard to his impact on the history and development of perinatal medicine.
Methods. Discussion of some of Erich Saling’s most important scientific contributions as well as his contributions to the development of perinatal medicine as a new field of medicine by founding societies and journals, organizing congresses, etc.
Results. Fetal blood analysis, performed by Erich Saling in 1960 (and published in 1961), was the first direct approach to the human fetus that could already be used in routine clinical practice. Erich Saling also developed amnioscopy and made several other important contributions, most of them aiming to reduce the infant mortality and morbidity rate and the number of preterm births. In addition to his scientific contributions, Erich Saling played an important role in the development of perinatal medicine by founding the very first national and international scientific associations – in 1967 he founded the German Society of Perinatal Medicine and in 1968 he founded the European Association of Perinatal Medicine. He also organized the first scientific congresses – in 1967 the first national congress and in 1968 the first European Congress of Perinatal Medicine that was held in Berlin – and was involved in the organization of many scientific meetings. Erich Saling also published the first book concerning the infant within obstetrics and founded the very first journal in this field, entitled Journal of Perinatal Medicine.
Conclusion. Erich Saling can truly be regarded as one of the main pioneers of perinatal medicine.