1. Who are you?
My name is Dr. Wolfgang Wöllmer
2. What is your educational background?
I studied physics at the University of Hamburg, Germany, received my PhD in Biophysics in 1987 and was acknowledged as a medical physicist specializing in laser medicine by the German Association of Medical Physics in 1985.
3. Where do you work?
I work at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany in the Center for Clinical Neurosciences, Department of Oto-, Rhino-, Laryngology. In 1990 I also became a member of the German standardization joint working group “Lasers in Medicine”, which mirrors IEC TC 76/SC62D JWG4 and ISO TC 172 SC9 WG4, and was elected as chairman in 1994.
4. When did you start working with lasers?
In 1981, the ENT department in the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany received its first medical laser, an Argon-Ion laser. I was responsible for laser operational management and laser safety protocols within the operating theater.
5. How did you become the LSO? Tell us about your experiences.
By acclamation, and later by assignment. I took part in the first laser safety course offered in Germany in 1984; the requirements for such courses were established in 1988. I completed the CMLSO exams in 2007.
For over twenty-five years, I assisted the laser operations in the ENT department, more than 5000 in total. My other primary interests have focused on laser safety education and research. In 1987, I first gave lectures at an intensive laser safety course, and went on to develop and teach a semester long course on laser safety at the University of Hamburg in 1991.
Since 1995, I have continued teaching this accredited course at the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg. I am a co-author of the LIMITS CD-ROM “Laser safety in medicine – interactive training system” and of the “CMLSO’s Best Practices in Medical Laser Safety.” In 1983, we were among the first to investigate and publish on the mechanism of endotracheal tube fires. In the 1990’s I was part of the European research group investigating laser plume and ablation products. Currently, I am research coordinator of the European Research Council funded project “Picosecond Infrared Laser for Scar Free Surgery with Preservation of Tissue Structure and Recognition of Tissue Type and Boundaries.”
6. How has becoming certified helped/benefited you in your career?
Being one of the few Europeans to have received the CMLSO certification, which is based on the ANSI Z136 standards, I envision the benefits of extending such a high quality certification process internationally.