„Friendship is the most beautiful gift we can be bestowed in order to shape our life happily” – this was the motto of the event named The Breakfast of Prime Ministers, Ministers and Friends Forever, organized due to the jubilee – 20th Anniversary – “from the Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired “Cochlear Center” to the World Hearing Center”
This exceptional in the history of Polish otosurgery, phoniatry and otolaryngology anniversary is above all the jubilee of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński who for last 20 years has been making efforts to give Polish patients the best care, even better than in other world centers for treatment of hearing disorders. Due to the initiatives of Prof. Skarżyński the unique institutions have been established: in 1993 the first in Poland and second in Europe the “Cochlear Center”, in 1996 – the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, in 2003 – the International Center of Hearing and Speech, and finally in 2012 – the World Hearing Center. On July 15, 2013, the jubilee ceremony with the participation of the representatives of legislative, executive and self-government authorities, scientific community, the Church, mass media, non-governmental organizations and other central institutions, took place on Kajetany.
– This is an exceptional and uncommon meeting of people, who regardless of politics, political party or profession have been supported the activity and ideas of Prof. Skarżyński. I do not know any other man who would succeed with such undertaking. In today’s world, where different political options are dashing and the economic calculus influences all aspects of our life, the attitude of these of you who attended this ceremony in Kajetany is admirable and worthy of imitation. And I envy Prof. Skarżyński this rare ability to unite such a large group of friends. I wish this jubilee was not only the reason for the Team of the Center to be proud of but also promoted the modern civil attitude across the world. Such attitude represents Prof. Skarżyński and due to this, in positivistic approach to life and people, he changes the world into a better place. – said during the jubilee ceremony Prof. Michał Kleiber, the President of the Polish Academy of Science, former Minister of Science and one of the first Institute’s “Friend Forever”.
The board „Friends Forever” is welcoming all the patients and guests of the World Hearing Center. This is the form to thank all these people who with their knowledge, scientific authority, involvement and skills have been supporting the development of the Institute and the activities of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński and his Team for over 20 years. Among over 100 people, 25 new Friends have appeared. They are:
Hanna Suchocka, the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland who 20 years ago opened the „Cochlear Center”, said while appreciating the title “Friends Forever”: – When I had a pleasure of opening the “Cochlear Center” I didn’t even expected that such result will be achieved is such a short time. At that moment, I expressed my will to participate in an opening ceremony of something bigger. I used quite moderate term but now we are participating in the opening ceremony of something magnificent, incredible undertaking, which raised to the global dimension. If there is a determination, vision, will and passion for action, the things that seem to be impossible can be achieved. I would like to congratulate Prof. Skarżyński and his Team this achievement and to wish them a continuation of such passion in the future. You can see the success here, as it has been built on the proper rules. To do something for other people, to help them, and at the same time to resist from being discouraged by adversities. Probably this is the most difficult part for everyone, no matter if this is a politician, professor or physician – the most difficult are adversities which can be discouraging. Luckily, in case of Professor Skarżyński and his Team adversities hadn’t scared them out but they gave them the force and that is why they have achieved such success.
Prof. Henryk Skarżyński expressed his gratitude to the honored Friends for their long-term kindness and support for him and the whole Team. – For the society of the 21st Century, the involvement into the problems of deaf and hearing impaired people, as well as in supporting new ideas of interpersonal communication is priceless. – said the Professor.
Considering the social and economic conditions in the early 90-ties of last century, establishment of the public institution, which quickly became an important one in the international scientific environment, was not an easy task.
Andrzej Wojtyła, the Minister of Health in the years 1992-1993: – This what 20 years ago seemed to be inapplicable became the fact. This Center built in Kajetany by Prof. Skarżyński has surpassed all my expectations. 20 years ago, when I was the Minister of Health, Prof. Skarżyński paid me a visit and said: “Mister Minister, you are fighting with the economic recession. Let’s try to built something modern, because the Poles can challenge this”. We have decided to establish a small hearing center, which started to develop due to the commitment of Prof. Skarżyński. Thanks to his optimism and inborn, consolidative behavior he was able to develop his Institute under the different governments – rightist and leftist. He was able to cooperate with everyone and he was helping everyone to understand his ideas. That is why today we have the world center, we can be all proud of.
The opening of the “Cochlear Center” was possible because Poland has opened to other countries, to new solutions and new necessities, as well as due to the initiative of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński who established two non-governmental organizations: the Foundation of Medical Development “Homo-Homini” in 1990 and the Association of Friends of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired in 1992. Both organizations officially brought into existence the Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired “Cochlear Center”
– I was striving obstinately to prevent the huge scientific and clinical success – that is the implementation of deafness treatment program in Poland – from being wasted. To guarantee to the first group of operated patients interdisciplinary care and access to the newest achievements already implemented in the world. I desired to show to the world that we, the Poles, are not worse – that we know how to build a modern institution from the foundations, and we know how to manage it competently. In order to built the Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired “Cochlear Center” we had to overcome many barriers, among them such common one as inability and helplessness. At that time I had no idea what would be in 20 years ahead but I wanted to be sure that I made everything what was possible, that I seized the opportunity for Polish patients, Polish science and medicine. – Prof. Henryk Skarżyński recalled.
This opportunity has been seized in the model way: in 2003 – according to the initiative, idea and organizational assumptions of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, the International Center of Hearing and Speech was opened. The Center was later expanded – in a record time of 15 months and with significant own resources of the Institute – and in 2012 converted into the World Hearing Center.
Janusz Piechociński, Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy, said during the ceremony in the World Hearing Center: – Professor Skarżyński has accomplished this, what was appealed by the poet who wanted to save her work from being forgotten. All of us have dreams but not many of us are able to present them precisely in public. Approximately 50 percent are making attempts to fulfill dreams, but only 10 percent actually are working to fulfill them, and only the dreams of 2 percent come true. Probably in such difficult world of healthcare, science, everyday practice Professor Skarżyński is the unique person in the world. It is worth to remember how strong must be determination to fulfill the dreams at the above-average level – let’s keep in mind that we are talking about meeting the great needs of people who are disconnected from the world. To understand each other we need to hear and communicate. Prof. Skarżyński has built up the Team which he inspired to help other people. He has created something eternal. This is the Polish great example and that is why so many guests from the world of science, politics, administration, and those who regained belief thanks to the scientific output of Prof. Skarżyński and his Team, gathered here today. But still – and this is optimistic – there is an expectation for more, wiser, as any of us can queue not as a VIP or guest, but as a patient and the most important is to meet patient’s hopes.
From the opening of the Diagnostic-Treatment-Rehabilitation Center for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired “Cochlear Center” till the opening of the first institution in Kajetany passed only or not only 10 years. During these years the Institute’s Team showed that Polish scientists caught up with the world, even this best organized and the richest one. They started to perform the highest number of hearing improving surgeries. This stimulated new ideas and challenges.
Andrzej Siezieniewski, the President of Polish Radio: – The Radio, which bases its activity on the sense of hearing, has a special reason to express its gratitude for the 20-year work done in Kajetany. We have been accompanying Professor Skarżyński from the beginning of his great undertaking and we will be doing it in the future. Since the activity of the Institute and the Center serves the people and it is worth all the prizes of the world.
Prof. Skarżyński with the Team of the Center have started to perform some procedures as the first team in the world. In order to popularize these achievements on a global scale, in order to present at the biggest scientific forum the possibilities of Polish science and medicine there was a need to go on. The continuation was the idea of organization and construction of the World Hearing Center. Its original name – the Partial Deafness Treatment Center – referred to the surgical procedures performed by Prof. Henryk Skarżyński for the first time in the world. It was the surgery for partial deafness in an adult, in 2002, and in 2004 in a child. The name occurred to be a bit too long and too detailed, therefore today the patients, students, young scientists and distinguished professors from all over the world are coming to the World Hearing Center.
Józef Oleksy, former Marshal of the Seym, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, Deputy for the Seym of the Republic of Poland, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the SLD: – Once, I was listening to the lecture of Prof. Skarżyński and I was dazzled by the fact that it is possible to combine medicine, engineering and philosophy. This is very characteristic for the World Hearing Center and the medical school run by Prof. Skarżyński – we have to name it like this as this is the school that he has been creating for a long time. (…) I am full of respect and recognition for these achievements and this number of children and adults who can hear and speak thanks to the Professor. (…) I was a bit aside, but in the beginning – many years ago – I participated in supporting the idea, therefore with huge satisfaction I enjoy the opening celebration today. This is how you can achieve a great result in Polish conditions, facing Polish difficulties and Polish complaints. How you can achieve the success which is so needed by the people.
The scientific and clinical infrastructure created in the World Hearing Center enables scientists from the country and abroad to accept most original challenges in the field of innovative technologies. So far the Center is the only such a place, but in the future it will be developed into the network. This trend has already been initiated, together with other research and clinical programs, in 12 countries from Asian, African, American and Australian continents.
Leszek Sikorski, the Minister of Health in the years 2003-2004: – In the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing the patients can always count on efficient, world-level treatment. From the point of view of the healthcare organization this is an obvious message – if there is a passion, clear concept, belief and skills of attracting people the success is possible even in such difficult field as the health care. Let me express my more private opinion – if someone gives so much as Professor Skarżyński does, he/she can expect the support from other people. This is a signpost for all of us.
Currently, there are new challenges in Kajetany. Their goals are international scientific consortia for multidisciplinary research projects and implementation of the newest scientific solutions into everyday practice.
Prof. Wojciech Golusiński, the Head of the Head, Neck and Laryngological Oncology Clinic of the Medical University named after Karol Marcinkowski in Poznań: – I know Professor Skarżyński since many years. This is the outstanding man – the creator of Polish otology. What he has achieved, has changed the thinking not only in audiological procedure, but also the thinking of Polish otolaryngologists. Prof. Skarżyński implemented the proper treatment procedures that now we can all use. What is important, he has popularized his techniques among many young people. In Kajetany they can acquire experience in otosurgery, which is one of the most difficult units in head and neck surgery. Professor Skarżyński lives his work and the effects of his work are just imposing – I have traveled a lot, but I must say that I have never seen such a success.
The World Hearing Center, originated by the establishment of the „Cochlear Center” 20 years ago, is the institution with a global range. 25 Ph.D. titles, up to 70 hearing improving surgeries daily (the highest number in the world), the organization of 169 scientific conferences and workshops, over 300 awards and distinctions, 1295 Polish and international publications, 4858 papers and speeches at Polish and international conferences. This is merely a part of scientific, clinical, organizational and medical output accumulated during last 20 years by Prof. Henryk Skarżyński and his team. Only within last 12 months the team members of the World Hearing Center prepared and presented 309 works at 57 international congresses, conferences and symposiums. In the same period of time they took part in 37 scientific conference where they presented 157 works. There is no other Polish institution which would have such numerous and multidisciplinary representation as the World Hearing Center of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing. This fact has a reflection in the rank of most active scientists at the biggest and most important congresses in the field of audiology and otorhinolaryngology in the world.
Prof. Jerzy Jurkiewicz, the Chairman of the Warsaw Physician’s Association: – I am here to thank you not only on behalf of these people whom you have rehabilitated the hearing. You are rehabilitating the hearing of all of us. While communing with you we start to hear more clearly the calling of people who need help. You teach us how to look and see. You demonstrate, that if you have a goal and ideas it is possible to do great things. We can warm up by you side. You are the great friend. (…) Congratulations the Master!
Prof. Henryk Skarżyński – on behalf of himself, the whole team of the Center and several hundreds of thousands of patients – expressed the gratitude to all exceptional guests for participating in the ceremony, and he did it using the words of Bertold Brecht: Only with the help from strong people it is possible to help the weak ones!