This upcoming Symposium is going to celebrate the 90th anniversasry of our Department. Please let us present to you a short history of our heritage.

In 1918 first Chairs and Departments of the Restituted University of Warsaw were formed. The 2nd Chair and Department of Surgery was created basing on the surgery department of the Holy Ghost Hospital in the 12 Elektoralna Street. Prof Franciszek Kijewski, the renowned surgeon with excellent scientific experience, became the Head of the Department. Previously he worked in the City Field Hospital located in the building of the Cadet Corps.

Professor Franciszek Kijewski was an apprentice of Prof. Kosiński. He was born on October 4th, 1858 in Warsaw. Since 1900 this one of the most experienced surgeons in Warsaw managed the surgery department of the Wolski Hospital. In 1907 he became the head of the surgery department of the St. Roch Hospital and later of the Child Jesus Hospital. After the beginning of the 1st World War he was appointed the general surgeon of the Warsaw City Field Hospital. Besides his medical responsibilities, between 1917 and 1919 he edited the “Diary of the Warsaw City Field Hospital”. He also participated actively in the 1st Conference of Military Medicine, held in Warsaw in 1917. In 1918 he became the head of the newly formed 2nd Department of Surgery. Prof. Franciszek Kijewski was the master of surgical technique and he is regarded as one of the creators of modern thoracic surgery. He managed the 2nd Department of Surgery for quite a short time and died on February 11th, 1919. After his death Prof. Antoni Leśniowski managed the Department for one year.

Prof. Leśniowski (left), Prof. Radliński (middle), Prof. Wojciechowski (right)

In 1920 the management of the Department was given to Prof. Zygmunt Radliński. This extraordinarily vigorous man immediately started to fight for the improvement of accommodation conditions. After 8 years of effort, in 1928 he was assured that the Department could be moved to Child Jesus Hospital. Accommodation problems did not impede the service and scientific activity of the 2nd Department of Surgery. The institution was known of numerous procedures, unusual at that time. Prof. Radliński himself published more than 30 original papers, first of all on the esophageal surgery, surgery of the stomach, intestine, pancreas, biliary ducts and liver. His value as the scientist and surgeon can be also shown by his interest in neurosurgery, urology, orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery and thoracic surgery. Prof. Zygmunt Radliński remained the head of the 2nd Department of Surgery until 1936. In 1937 Prof. Adolf Wojciechowski was appointed the new head of the Department after a competition with Jan Mossakowski, T. Ostrowski and Jerzy Rutkowski. During the 2nd World War he lectured and examined students on secret classes. He knew his co-workers very well and he has participated in their conspiracy. We left Poland in 1944 together with his German wife. Prof. Wojciechowski died in Leipzig just after 2nd World War has ended. Undoubtedly, he maintained a high value of the Department. Prof. Wojciechowski was one of the remarkable surgeons of his times. Before he took over the 2nd Department of Surgery, he was known author of theoretical, clinical and experimental papers published in Polish and foreign journals. He worked on the embryonic development of the omentum and its culturing in vitro. He described a method of periarterial sympathectomy. His interests focused also on gynaecology – he described differences between the lymphatic outflow from uterine cervix and body indicating their importance for surgical treatment and prognosis. Later publications of Prof. Wojciechowski dealt with orthopedic surgery and traumatology. He was one of the founders of Warsaw school of orthopedics. Moreover, he established an active center of experimental surgery.
Until the outbreak of 2nd World War, the 2nd Department of Surgery was situated in the Holy Ghost Hospital, which was demolished and burned in 1939. During the Nazi occupation period crew of the Department worked in a building of the Nursery School in Koszykowa Street, adapted temporarily to serve as a hospital. After the liberation of Warsaw, saved property of the Department has been moved to Child Jesus Hospital. The Hospital employed also some former employees of the 2nd Department of Surgery. Thanks to enormous engagement of Drs. T. Butkiewicz, J. Mossakowski, A. Domaszewicz and Z. Michalski, the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Warsaw was established based on the hospital in Boremlowska Street, hence called the “Boremlowska Academy”. Prof. Butkiewicz became the Dean of the Faculty. 2nd Department of Surgery managed by Dr. Jan Mossakowski has been established as well. In October of 1945 it was moved to the second floor of the Transfiguration Hospital in the 4 Veterans Square. The Department had 60 hospital beds at that time.

In 1948, after further reconstruction of the Transfiguration Hospital, the 2nd Department of Surgery occupied the entire 2nd floor of the building and increased number of hospital beds from 60 to 120. This growth implicated the need for new equipment. Library and scientific laboratory were created simultaneously, as well as the urology ward. There were clinical meetings organized every week and employees of the Department participated in activities of scientific societies. Students Scientific Club existed since 1949. The students prepared “Polish surgical bibliography of the interwar period”.
The year of 1955 was important for the 2nd Department of Surgery. Drs. Czyżewski, Stefan Grabowski and Jerzy Manicki from the Department of Surgery and drs. J. Falkowski and A. Wigura from the Department of Urology became the Assistant Professors.

Prof. Jan Mossakowski, Head of the Department was a representative of the old surgical school who, thanks to excellent knowledge of anatomy, could perform long and complicated procedures in local anesthesia. Contemporary anesthesiology was not available at that time. Prof. Mossakowski initiated and developed biochemical studies on proteins, carbohydrates and fats metabolism as well as electrolyte balance in operated patients. Studies on the role of hormones in a postoperative disease constituted the other stream of research. They studied also the pathogenesis of hypersplenism, spleno-hepatic syndrome and kymography of the stomach after resection. Prof. Mossakowski’s team together with the Insitute of Industrial Chemistry pioneered in the research on protein hydrolysates for intravenous administration.

It is worth mentioning that as early as in 1950s the 2nd Department of Surgery started to introduce new medical specialty – the anesthesiology. Dr. Tadeusz Otto was the anesthesiologist at the Department in 1958.
After Prof. Mossakowski retired, Assistant Professor Jerzy Manicki took over his responsibilities for almost two years in 1959-1960. In 1960 Prof. Zdzisław Łapiński became the new Head of the 2nd Department of Surgery. Scientific activity of the Department focused at that time on surgery of stomach, esophagus, intestines and biliary ducts. There was also a plastic surgery unit at the Department managed by dr. Teobald Adamczak.

Prof. Zdzisław Łapiński (photo above: Prof. Łapiński ans his team in 1970) was an apprentice of Prof. Bronisław Szerszyński, Prof. Aleksander Ambrożewicz and Prof. Tadeusz Butkiewicz. Inspired by Prof. T. Butkiewicz, in 1956 he published a monography entitled “Surgery of colic cancer – clinical and experimental study”. His scientific activity focused on surgery of the alimentary tract. Papers he published dealt with surgical treatment of large intestine neoplasms, ileus, cholelithiasis, pancreatitis, abscesses of liver, complications of peptic ulcer and abdominal hernias. He also worked on pathology of blood and lymphatic vessels and thyroid surgery. A lot of attention was paid toward surgical infections, especially toward the tactics of surgical management of infections and purulent lesions. Prof. Łapiński put the emphasis on prevention and early management of postoperative complications. He was the editor and main author of the first Polish monography on this issue.

In march 1974 the Institute of Surgery was created at the Medical University of Warsaw. It comprised Department of Vascular Surgery and Transplantology (Head: Prof. J. Nielubowicz), Department of General and Plastic Surgery (Head: Prof. Zdzisław Łapiński), Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery (Head: Prof. Bruno Szczygieł), Department of Otolaryngology (Head: Prof. Zdzisław Bochenek), Department of Urology (Head: Prof. Stefan Wesołowski). Prof. Jan Nielubowicz became the Director of the Institute. In 1975 the Department of General and Plastic Surgery, as well as other Departments of the Institute, was moved to the newly constructed building in Banacha 1a street. It has been situated on the 6th floor and the Plastic Surgery Unit in the A section of the 5th floor.

Prof. Zdzisław Łapiński retired in 1980 and the Department changed its name to the “Department of General Surgery and Liver Diseases”. Prof. Jerzy Szczerbań was appointed the Head. According to the new profile of the Department, studies on portal hypertension and clinical hepatology were initiated. Moreover, research on surgery of esophagus, stomach, thyroid gland, pancreas, liver and biliary ducts were conducted. Picture on the right: Prof. Łapiński and his team in 1978.


Prof. Szczerbań (left), Prof. Karwowski (middle), Prof. Krawczyk (right)

In 1989 Prof. J. Szczerbań started his work in the World Health Organization. Management of the Department was transferred to Prof. Andrzej Karwowski, who became the Head of Department of General Surgery and Hepatic Diseases in 1991. At that time the Department was divided into three sections with total number of 94 hospital beds. Research focused on intraoperative sonography in hepatic surgery and surgery of biliary ducts, analysis of treatment of early and advanced gastric cancer methods based on analysis of early postoperative complications, influence of techniques of reconstruction of gastrointestinal tract continuity on motor and metabolic disfunction. Besides, studies were carried out on influence of Transjugular Intrahepatic Portocaval Shunts (TIPS) on portal hemodynamics and functional status of cirrhotic liver, dependence of hemodynamic and physiological effects of shunt on technique, aspects of liver transplantation in Poland (evaluation of requirement, optimization of indications, preparation of the patient, improvement of surgical procedure and evaluation of results), improvement of treatment of large intestine cancer to the liver by combination of surgical treatment and chemotherapy, evaluation of selected biochemical parameters of liver efficiency in preoperative qualification and its monitoring.


Prof. Krawczyk and his team in 1999

In 1998, after Prof. Andrzej Karwowski retired, Prof. Marek Krawczyk was appointed the Head of the Department effective since October 1st, 1998.

We welcome you to take a look on the recent paper presenting details of the heritage and experience of our Department. It was published by Prof. Marek Krawczyk, who presented advantages, developments and tradition of all crative and valable personalities whoc charied the Department.

[download PDF]

Translation ito English by Blackhorse Scientific Publishers, Ltd.


%d bloggers like this: