Prof. Henryk Skarżyński is the most influential person in Polish medicine

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Prof. Henryk Skarżyński is the most influential person in Polish medicine

Prof. Henryk Skarżyński is the most influential person in Polish medicine

Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, director of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, is on the first position in the rating of 100 most influential people in Polish medicine published by the „Puls Medycyny” monthly magazine. It is an extraordinary success, particularly as Prof. Skarżyński had already been a winner in the last year’s rating.  

The 100 most influential people in Polish medicine had been nominated already for the 14th time. For the third time „Puls Medycyny” had nominated also the 100 most influential people in Polish healthcare. The first place in the latter category has won Prof. Alicja Chybicka.

Our List is published once a year and it is a sui generis summary of events and moods’ barometer. We ask the members of the jury to assess the achievements of candidates within the last 12 months and their positive impact on the development of medicine and changes in the healthcare system. Thus there is space for subjective opinions relating to the organizational decisions or scientific achievements. We have also an opportunity to investigate how the changes are being received and whether, in the opinion of medical community, they have good influence on Polish healthcare – said Krzysztof Jakubiak, chief editor of „Puls Medycyny”. The ceremony, which took place in the Bristol Hotel in Warsaw on 17 January, was hosted by Małgorzata Konaszczuk – the deputy chief editor of „Puls Medycyny” and Marta Markiewicz, editor of „Puls Farmacji”.

Laudation for Prof. Henryk Skarżyński delivered Prof. Mirosław Ząbek, Head of the Emergency Neurotherapy Center of the Neurosurgery Clinic, Center of Postgraduate Medical Education, Brodno Hospital in Warsaw. „I am greatly honored to be able to introduce somebody who is so extraordinary, versatile, endowed with so many talents, abilities and characteristics than make other people trust him and join him on a path he had chosen 20 years ago. Professor Skarzynski is not only an extraordinary and wonderful physician, unequalled surgeon, scientist, inventor, manager, a man of great heart and an uncommon poet. He breaks Guinness records having his achievements recorder in the Great Book of Guinness Records. He is an extraordinary person. He demonstrates that if you love what you are doing, if you approach each surgical procedure with conviction that, had I been ill, I would have wanted to be operated this way, if you have passion and belief, then you can achieve the state when a thought shapes the reality. It may appear that he needs only to think something to achieve it. It is not true. It takes a lot of work and determination. He is a person who had created a youngest center of this kind on Poland and today this center conducts the largest number of medical consultations and hearing improving surgeries of all centers in the world. It is a wonderful showcase for our country. More than 20 years ago he took a first spadeful of earth on an empty field near Warsaw, dreaming about building the medical center of the highest international level. Paraphrasing the words of a song of Bracia Golec ‘he is a stubble field now, but we will build a San Francisco’ – we can say that is had happened. A great, European, world medical center had been built. Prof. Skarzynski has made us realize how important gift is hearing, how worsening of hearing, hearing loss or deafness can cripple a man. He has shown us how other senses suffer when hearing deteriorates. He has shown us in this way the ‘scream of silence’ which affect some of the deaf people who wake up and instead of words a scream of silence. He has shown us also how we can beautifully, with surgeries, restore that hearing. He has brought us, hearing people, to the world of deaf, and the deaf – to the world of hearing. He had demonstrated to us, the hearing, by reworking a classical music into pictures, how cutting of a part of a bandwidth can hamper out hearing, make what we hear colorless. But he has shown us also how this hearing can be wonderfully restored through surgeries he performs. And how l extraordinary can life then become. It is like being able to taste food again after being deprived of taste for some time. 

As the first surgeon in this part of the world he had started performing cochlear implantations, as well as brainstem implantations. And one of his crowning achievements is the commencement of treatment of partial deafness with various types of cochlear implants in adults and then in children. As the first in the world he had successfully combined natural and electric hearing. As the first in the world he had introduced a classification of results of patients after implantation. He had realized several tens of international research and development programs. He had implemented hearing screening in children on four continents. He had created the first in the world National Network of Teleaudiology. The Center he had created is also an education and training center which had already trained more than 4000 young doctors from all continents. He is an honorary professor of several universities abroad and doctor honoris cause of three Polish universities. He has received many medals and awards – from the Pope, the Primate of Poland, the Metropolitan Bishop of Warsaw, the President of Poland, the Prime Minister, Ministers of Health, Science, International Affairs, Economy and Regional Development, from different medical communities and also from other nations: the King of Belgium, Presidents of Georgia and Ukraine. Professor Skarzynski is a showpiece of our country. For this reason I thank you for your presence in our medical community!”

Thanking for the honor, Prof. Skarzynski did not hide his emotions: – Thank you very much for so many warm words. I have not heard so many accolades in the all 25 years of my work. Many had spoken well about me, but Prof. Ząbek had found the details that I am glad to recall again. My presence in this rating is simply a proof that I try give my best in my work. Last year was a special year for me and my team, as it had been a year of two jubilees. Twenty five years ago I had started the program of treatment of deafness in Poland and 20 years ago the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing had been established. Today there is no other center of Poland that had achieved such high position in Poland and in the world. The method of treatment of partial deafness I had created is described in the world as the ‘Polish school of otosurgery’. This is why I value so much this distinction I receive today. I suppose you expect to receive a good advice what to do in order to achieve a place in such an exalted group of influential people. My words may surprise you, but in the digital world of today a physician cannot be a proverbial Dr. Judym. He could overlook money and follow his heart. Today, not forgetting about the heart and empathy for a patient, each of us, doctors, must be able to count. It is our decision how we shall allocate funds in order to help most people needing it. Today’s doctor must be trustworthy, prepared to face a great stress and able to resist it, as it has a great impact on his environment. In our community there are many doctors who can do it. Why? Because they love their work, are systematic and serious in their approach to their duties. I also, in every possible situation, try to give something worthwhile from myself, to help create the image of a physician which is positive and trustworthy. Each of us was, or will be a patient and surely would like to be able to trust his doctor. And the trust, of course, cannot be bought.

At the end of his speech Prof. Henryk Skarzynski had offered to the assembled guests his wishes of increased success in the coming years, as well as calm, consideration and balance in making the important decisions for the healthcare system. – Without the human goodwill, trust and feeling that all of us want to make the world better it is impossible to achieve an improvement. After all, we all wish that the meeting of 200 notable and influential representatives of healthcare services next year was as cheerful as the last one. – said Prof. Skarżyński. At the end he had left a valuable message in a form of a poem:

I think you know very well

There are any many successes in Polish medicine

Quite a lot of them are known in the world

It is up to us to make all remember them!

Our leaders this year are the extraordinary people, great personalities, and at the same time nice, warm people who, despite the pressure of obligations, are always able to find time for other people. Their profession is their mission in life. And they are lucky that their daily chores are also their passion. – said the secretary of the competition, Monika Wysocka.

The laureates of the previous editions had been: Jolanta Kwaśniewska (twice), Dr. Marek Balicki (once), Prof. Zbigniew Religa (3 times), Dr. Ewa Kopacz (3 times), Prof. Marian Zembala (3 times), Prof. Jacek Jassem (once), Dr. Konstanty Radziwiłł (once), Prof. Henryk Skarżyński (once).