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Ettore Rossi

Born  1915
Died  1998

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Swiss paediatrician, August 31, 1915, Locarno; died December 15, 1998, Bern.

Biography of Ettore Rossi

For half a century Ettore Rossi played an important part in the development of paediatrics in Switzerland. He was born in Locarno in the Italian speaking Swiss canton of Ticino (Tessin), to a Swiss father and Italian mother.

Rossi attended the Gymnasium in Locarno and subsequently studied in Milano, Zurich and Bern. Following graduation in medicine he trained in paediatrics in Milano, where he obtained his medical doctorate in 1940.

In 1942 he commenced his clinical work as an assistant physician under his teacher, professor Guido Fanconi (1892-1979) in Zürich, where he soon distinguished himself as head physician. In this period he also established lasting contacts with Swiss and foreign friends, among them professor Hans Ulrich Zellweger (1909-1990), professor Conrad Johann Gasser (1912-1982), and professor Andrea Prader (1919-2001).

His scientific interests in Zürich concerned the recognition of children with dehydration, bacterial meningitis, and tuberculosis. In the early 1950's scholarships permitted him to visit several children's clinics in the Unites States, where he acquired an interest in congenital heart defects – and thus cardiology. Later, one of his main research interests was in cystic fibrosis. In 1952 he became Privatdozent as well as physician-in-chief at the Children’s Clinic in Zurich.

In 1956 Ettore Rossi was appointed Ordinarius of paediatrics at the University of Berne, succeeding Eduard Glanzmann. He assumed his chair in 1957, when Glansmann retired. As a teacher and for forty years director of the university children's clinic in Bern, he made Bern an important centre of paediatrics. Rossi was a highly respected beloved physician and a highly respected teacher and scientist. A prolific writer, he published more than 400 scientific works.

Besides medicine, Rossi's interests comprised the belle arts, theatre and music. But above all, his main concern was the welfare of children.

Ettore Rossi was made a Doctor honoris causa of the University of Rio de Janeiro in 1960, and later received the same honour from the universities of Clermont-Ferrand and Palermo, in 1965 and 1979, respecively.

We thank Patrick Jucker-Kupper for information submitted.


  • E. Rossi, A. Prader:
    Die Angiokardiographie bei angeborenen Herzfehlern.
    Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift, Basel, 1948, 78: 1054-1064.

  • Ettore Rossi, Edouard Gugler, Franco Vasella:
    Pädiatrie. 3rd edition, 1997, Thieme Verlag
  • J. Peña Guitián:
    Profesor Ettore Rossi.
    Anales espanoles de pediatria, Madrid, 1999, 50: 221.
  • Biographische Sammlung der Schweizerischen Landesbibliothek Bern (Presseartikel).
  • Kürschners Deutscher Gelehrtenkalender. 13 th edition, Berlin/New York 1980.
  • Dozenten der Universität Bern 1528-1984.
    Ergänzungsband zu: Hochschulgeschichte Berns, 1528-1984 : zur 150-Jahr-Feier der Universität Bern 1984 / [hrsg. im Auftrag des Regierungsrates des Kt. Bern von der Kommission für bernische Hochschulgeschichte] Bern : Universität, 1984.

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