The paediatric surgeon who loves her work

Press releases 2010

Vibeke Hjortdal is a paediatric heart surgeon at Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, and she loves her work. In 2004, she became Denmark’s first female professor of surgery.

Professor Hjortdal operates on children’s hearts the size of walnuts. She is forty-eight years old and has worked hard to get where she is today.
“Students who want to become heart surgeons are prepared to do whatever it takes. They stay until the operation is finished, unless something else is extremely urgent. They take care of the patients allocated to them, try to carry out some research on the side and read all the necessary articles,” says Professor Hjortdal.

Driven by enthusiasm

At the age of just 42, she became Denmark’s first female professor of surgery. In addition to working hard, Professor Hjortdal has always been extremely dedicated. She is one of those surgeons who spends many extra hours in the operating theatre attending to surgery on the heart of a tiny infant.
“What I love most about my work is the happy parents and the cute children, and the way they look at you when they leave the hospital in good health,” she says.

The best in the country

Professor Hjortdal has published many articles and now acts as a supervisor for young doctors who, like herself, would like to work on saving the part of the body that nobody can be without.
“In addition to research, teaching and supervising, I think it’s important as a professor to be good at getting others interested in what you’re doing,” she says. Today, the cardiac department at Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, is considered one of the best in the country.

Photo: Lars Kruse/AU-foto
Paediatric surgeon Vibeke Hjortdal became Denmark’s first female professor of surgery when she was only forty-two. She is driven by considerable dedication. Photo: Lars Kruse/AU-foto