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Press Release: Rare Diseases – UKD-Physician Prof. Dr. Stephan vom Dahl receives German Cross of Merit

Commitment for „Orphan Diseases“: Düsseldorfer Outpatient Clinics for Inborn Errors of Metabolism in Adults is one of the Largest Medical Centres in Germany

Press Release, 14th February 2018


Prof. Dr. Stephan vom Dahl mit dem Bundesverdienstkreuz. In der Ambulanz für angeborene Stoffwechselkrankheiten bei Erwachsenen am UKD werden jährlich über 450 Patientinnen und Patienten betreut. Die Ambulanz war eine der ersten ihrer Art in Deutschland. Foto: UKD/Kesting

Düsseldorf (ukd/dre). As an expert in rare metabolic diseases, he cares for patients from all over Germany at the University Hospital Düsseldorf (UKD). However, his volunteer work for patients suffering from rare diseases goes far beyond that: at the end of January, UKD physician Prof. Dr. med. Stephan vom Dahl received the Cross of Merit on the ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Prof. Dr. Stephan vom Dahl works as a senior physician at the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectiology of the UKD (clinic director: Prof. Dr. Dieter Häussinger). More than 450 patients are taken care of each year at the Clinic for Rare Metabolic Diseases in Adults. The outpatient department was one of the first of its kind in Germany. „Our work for these patients is also an important pillar of the Centre for Rare Diseases at the UKD.“ In this clinic-wide centre, experts from different disciplines work closely together, for example, from Department of Human Genetics or the Children’s Clinic of the UKD.

Currently, around 6,000 different diseases are counted among the rare diseases. Overall, it is estimated that up to eight percent of the population is affected by a rare disease. Prof. von Dahl: „Rare diseases are therefore quite a common diagnosis in its entirety. However, because of the rarity and complexity of each disease, many people, and especially their loved ones, often have to go a long way before a medical professional makes an accurate diagnosis and they can benefit from adequate treatment.“

For Prof. vom Dahl, close and often long-term cooperation with patients and their relatives is important: „Of course, it can take a long time to find a solution to a complex problem. But if you have found this solution and the therapy works: This is an enormous and rapid improvement for the lives of patients and their relatives.“ In the light of these facts, Prof. Dahl volunteers in numerous patient associations, such as the Gaucher Society Germany , the Hemochromatosis Association Germany e. V. (HVD) and the Liver League e.V. based in Düsseldorf.“ He is also editor of the scientific book „Inborn Errors of Metabolism in Adults“.

Together with his colleagues, „Transition Consultation-Hours“ for young patients are offered, who were previously taken care of by pediatricians, but have now reached adulthood. „So we can closely accompany the transition from pediatric medicine to adult medicine. This is especially important for the patients and their families, since they have often been cared for by ‚their‘ doctor for a large part of their lives and now have to establish a new relationship of trust.“ The need for specialized outpatient clinics is high: „Our outpatient clinic for inborn metabolic diseases in adults is one of the largest of its kind in Germany. But even here patients have to wait around six months for an appointment.“

Having been awarded the Federal Order of Merit, Prof. vom Dahl likes to think of it as additional motivation for his work in the clinic, but also for his volunteer work outside the clinic. Clinic director Prof. Dr. Dieter Häussinger agrees: „The award for Prof. Dahl is a great recognition for the work with the patients, who often have a long odyssey behind them, until they meet the right expert. And even then, the work is often arduous, requires patience and enormous expertise. I am very glad that this commitment has now been acknowledged in this form.“


Prof. Dr. med. Stephan vom Dahl
Senior Physician
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectiology
(Clinic director: Prof. Dr. Dieter Häussinger)
University Hospital Düsseldorf
Senior Physician Office: +49- (0)211 / 81-04041

Informationen zur Ambulanz für angeborene Stoffwechselkrankheiten bei Erwachsenen am UKD gibt es hier.