Translated from the original Hungarian by Rev. Csaba Orosz, SARA Director for Romania
BUDAPEST — The relationship of Dr. Ákos Kiss with SARA goes back to the year 2004. In that year, in the children’s surgery unit in Miskolc–the largest in Hungary–a young man from Beregszász presented himself suffering from a grave case of funnel-shaped chest. The condition pushed in the walls of the chest, compressing the heart and the lungs and resulting in general physical weakness, fatigue, and frequent diseases of the respiratory tract. The young man’s condition also added to the risk of other grave organic diseases and the deformity was psychologically as well as physically disturbing. The disease unambiguously needed the earliest possible operation.
The patient, however, was unable to afford the considerable expense needed for the treatment. Dr. Ákos Kiss, the leading physician of the unit and President of the Hungarian Children’s Surgery Association, managed to reduce the operation’s expenses by 50 percent. In spite of this, the sick man still could not afford the remaining amount.
It was at this moment that the Rev. István Szilágyi made his appearance. With his influence the remainder of the surgical expenses were covered partially by the Children’s Surgery Foundation Unit of Miskolc, and in part by Dr. Kiss and the operation was performed successfully.
Kiss is the type of physician who never stops learning. He had already worked to increase his scientific knowledge at home in Hungary and abroad, having studied one year in Glasgow, Scotland, three months at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, one month in Dresden, Germany, and shorter periods in Ireland and Finland.
SARA then made it possible for Dr. Kiss to spend one month at the Children’s Surgery in Cincinnati, which, at this time, is the most dynamic and growing pediatric surgical facility in the United States. In the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital next to Dr. Azizkhan, he learned many things that he could apply back home in his own surgery unit and on SARA medical missions in Transcarpathia, Ukraine and, potentially, elsewhere.
The contact Dr. Kiss made with SARA alive and growing. Twice every year, sacrificing his vacation, he spends a several days in Transcarpathia, Ukraine at the Children’s Hospital in Mukacheve, either alone or in concert with pediatric surgeon Dr. Attila Vástyán of Pécs. There, Kiss helps perform a variety of operations and teaches them to other doctors. Among other procedures, which have never been performed in this area, they cooperate in operations to repair cases of cleft lip and palate as well as various chest deformities. They also participate in the treatment of patients suffering from urological problems, plastic surgery issues, and on patients who had suffered traumatic accidents.
During each trip 10-18 cooperative surgeries take place and the treatment of many more patients is discussed. Over the years Kiss has formed friendly relations with the Mukacheve Hospital’s leadership and administration as well as the local surgeons and it has become possible for his colleagues in that city to enrich their own knowledge by trips to Hungary. Today, thanks to the efforts of SARA and Dr. Kiss, medical colleagues in Mukacheve can safely perform the chest deformity surgeries. They have, as well, made great progress in the performance of operations to cure children suffering from lip and palate cleavages.
Even now, towards the end of his active career, Dr. Ákos Kiss considers meeting the Rev. István Szilágyi one of the great gifts of his life: that he was allowed the opportunity to participate in the Christian work and sacrifice of SARA; that he could help those in need beyond any number of national borders.