Dr Benjamin Gold

Head of mission

General Surgeon


Dr Gold, you are a general surgeon in Geneva, why do you feel the need to be involved in a humanitarian association?

When I chose to study medicine, it was with the aim of practising in developing countries. I was fortunate enough to be able, to simultaneously follow an excellent parallel  training course and realize this project. Partly  by choice, I  now work in a private practice in Geneva. However, it is essential for me to keep in touch with the immense difficulties encountered  by a large part of the population of our planet. We often have the impression that the task is so large that nothing changes. Nevertheless, every  health care action performed can really change a life which in turn will   a large number of other persons. It is crucial to put into perspective our own existences – sometimes so intense – when we are confronted with the poverty in which entire families live. It is an asset to be able to refocus on what really matters.

In what aspects of surgery does  Switzerland differ from less privileged countries in other continents?

There are several levels of characteristic deficiencies, varying between urban and rural areas, and between war/disaster surgery and civil, routine surgery. The absence of diagnostic  tools is very destabilizing because we sometimes have to begin an intervention without knowing what kind of problem we will encounter. It is also necessary to  revive time-honoured techniques which have proved their worth.  Common sense – which is sometimes masked at home by the cosmetic technological higher bid – is essential. However, we are in particular y confronted with the cost of every gesture, every instrument, every hospitalization.   Operations demand enormous sacrifices from patients  and their families in the absence of any insurance coverage  or Social Security benefits. This is when the solidarity and joint responsibility of the family or village group assume their full value. Our duty is to support these efforts.

You are an adviser and member of the Council of 2nd Chance, what  is your   contribution to its projects?

After several field experiences, essentially on the African continent and in very varying   contexts, I try to  contribute some pragmatism  in  building  a bridge between our ideas and their realization.