REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ANNALS OF SURGERY: Annals of Surgery: Vol. 266, nr 5, November 2017; 703 - 705: Modern Surgeons: Still Masters of Their Trade or Just Operators of Medical Equipment?
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My surgical education began at a time when Poland formed part of the communist bloc and was isolated from the world, or in today’s Terms – it remained behind the Iron Curtain. This was true of all areas of life, including medicine. When after 40 years of work, I look back at my professional career; I wonder whether I owe my proficiency in surgery to my experience and dexterity or, like many others, to technological progress. Two of the great Polish surgeons were my mentors and teachers. Professor Zdzisław Łapiński was the one I met first. He was a manual genius and an unusual operational strategist. Granted, he had one character defect, but nobody’s perfect after all. In 1975, I defended my dissertation. I was convinced that I should continue my education at a center abroad, preferably within a postdoctoral scholarship. Professor Łapiński wanted me to learn everything about surgery from him. I decided otherwise, and in 1978 with his tacit agreement, I obtained a Humboldt Fellowship and went to Heidelberg, to the department headed by none other than Professor Fritz Linder.1 I started my research for the habilitation thesis at the Experimentelle Chirurgie Abteilung of his Department.
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