Intended for healthcare professionals


Giancarlo (Gianni) Berni

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 17 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4533
  1. Caroline White
  1. London
  1. cwhite{at}

Emergency medicine specialist who “taught Italy how to do first aid”

Giancarlo (Gianni) Berni, who has died just a few months short of his 80th birthday, is credited with bringing emergency and intensive care to the Italian region of Tuscany, where he was born, grew up, and spent his working life.

His methods have since been widely adopted across Italy. As Antonio Panti, president of the Florentine Order of Doctors, observed in a tribute published in Corriere Fiorentino after the professor’s death, “He taught Italy how to do first aid.”

Before Berni came up with the idea of creating a 24 hour acute care unit that incorporated different strands of specialist internal medicine expertise and diagnostics, “the concept of emergency and critical care didn’t really exist in Tuscany,” says Berni’s colleague Luigi Tonelli, a retired medical director.

Urgent cases were consigned to the care of doctors without the requisite emergency medicine skills, whose task was …

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