20 years ago, on July 16th, 1992, Prof. Henryk Skarżyński performed the first in Poland cochlear implantation in a deaf adult. One day later the same implant received the five years old child.
– I was facing a great challenge: I knew that my success would be a milestone of the progress in otosurgery, otology, audiology, the entire ENT and rehabilitation but, as with any surgery, something could have gone wrong independent of the surgeon. I could have found difficult local conditions of the ear, hindering my performing of the surgery as planned. I knew that if we would not be able to perform implantation, or if the results would be poor, the doubts of many people, whether this surgery was justified, whether it was at all possible to restore lost senses, lost hearing, would have been justified – reminisced Prof. Henryk Skarżyński at the occasion of celebrating the 20th Anniversary.
That surgery was pioneering not only from the medical point of view, but also in the terms of communication with the mess media. It was a challenge to have informed them, only a week before, that the surgery will be performed in the presence of cameras, photographers, journalists. The report from the successful surgery was the second news of that day, directly after the message about the Pope’s health.
– We had awakened great expectations not only in mass media, but primarily among the multitude of people suffering from hearing impairments, who learned suddenly the it is possible to do something to hear the world. This interest caused me to think what next? Can I take the responsibility for such a complex program? Can it be entrusted to the single person? I had to analyze my capabilities and weaknesses. I was aware that many things are independent of us, even if they are very important for us. First phones from the parents’ families started to ring on the next day. We started to receive numerous letters. I realized then how great a problem have we touched. That we have awakened the hopes of the great number of persons suffering from hearing problems – said Prof. H. Skarżyński.
Thanks to the success of the first implantations the cochlear implant program in Poland was started, and later the entire great program of the modern otosurgery and audiology.