Bella Italia: Specialized Pediatric Surgical Care in Italy

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Abstract

Italian pediatric surgery has a long history, rich in events, places, and personalities that make it unique. Our first pediatric surgical unit dates back to the first half of the 19th century and its number has grown exponentially during the following decades, with a maximum flowering in the years after the second world war.

The rich history of pediatric surgery has not prevented it from facing important problems, such as the demographic crisis, underemployment of surgeons, and care of pediatric patients by adult specialists.

The attempt to find solutions to these problems has led to a great deal of efforts not only by pediatric surgeons, but also by the Italian government and institutions, with the implementation of ministerial plans that favor the specificity and growth of our discipline through thematic and territorial networks, through more effective training and specialization plans, the cooperation between the Directors of Pediatric Surgical Units for a better coordination of care, the participation in European networks, such as the recently created ERNs (European Reference Networks).

Many Italian pediatric surgeons are active in International Societies, as members or coordinators, in the design and management of multicenter studies and surveys and even in the creation of new international networks.

The Italian response to the demand for specialization and centralization involves knowledge sharing, large-scale cooperation, transversal between specialists and vertical with governmental authorities for a better and more effective care of pediatric patients.

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