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Doctor and hospital that specialize in vascular diseases
Next year, a new piece of equipment, a digital angiograph, will start functioning at the Clinic of Vascular Surgery at the Main Military Hospital in Kyiv. It will be of great help to the doctors who treat patients with vascular diseases. Lieutenant Colonel Volodymyr Rohovsky, the head physician of the Clinic, was interviewed by Marysya HOROBETS.
Volodymyr Rohovsky, a graduate of St Petersburg Military Medical Academy, where he majored in “general medicine,” and of the Ukrainian Military Medical Academy, where he majored in surgery, has been working in the field of vascular surgery in the past eleven years. In 1998, he was trained in the specialized field of vascular surgery, and in March 2007 he was awarded the rank of “Surgeon Top Class.” At present he is working at a dissertation, Diagnosis Surgical Treatment of Complicated Abdominal Aneurism.
Mr Rohovsky, is it true to say that vascular surgery is one of the more recent developments in medicine?
Vascular surgery began to develop into a separate branch of surgery after the Second World War. Before that it did not exist, probably because there had been no such a wide range of operations performed — surgeons mostly provided general help. The department of Vascular Surgery was established at the regional military hospital in Kyiv in November 1979, and in 1994 this department was given the status of a separate clinic. Next year this clinic will mark its thirtieth anniversary, and the Main Military Clinical Hospital, of which it was a part, is 250 years old (for comparison, the Medical Academy in St Petersburg is only 200 hundred years old). Its history is an important stage in the development of medicine in Kyiv and in Ukraine. As a matter of fact, the founder of the Clinic, Volodymyr Hachkovsky, a retired colonel and a surgeon of Top Category, is still working at the Clinic. He performs operations, gives consultations and valuable advice, coming as it is from a person of forty one years of experience in the field of angiography.
Do doctors from other clinics and hospitals turn to you for advice?
The circle of vascular surgeons is rather small, and we know each other very well. We provide advice and help to each other when it is needed. Our Clinic has a good reputation (even though it is probably a bit immodest to say that), and we have patients not only from Kyiv but from all over Ukraine. We do our best to help, we are careful about maintaining our reputation, we take responsibility for everything we do.
It’s a very important mission. And what can you say about the people who work with you?
I consider myself to be very lucky to have six highly qualified surgeons, two of whom are recipients of the honorary title of Merited Surgeon of Ukraine and three are surgeons of Top Category. Plus we have twenty-four experienced nurses. Thanks to those patients whom we call “commercial” (that is, those who pay for treatment and stay), we have money to improve the conditions at the Clinic. On the other hand, 60 to 70 percent of our patients are those who come to us from the Ministry of Defense. There are a lot things that we need to do and the money we receive is spent fast and to good purpose.
You must be a very busy person.
Yes, indeed, I am. Lately, I have been spending more time at the Clinic than with my family. I perform five to seven operations a week; often enough they are emergency operations that have to be performed urgently and then I have to be at the Clinic on weekends or at night. In addition to operations, there’s a lot of other work to do — administrative matters, research. My dissertation, Diagnosis Surgical Treatment of Complicated Abdominal Aneurism, deals with a complicated pathology in my sphere of specialization. In most cases this pathology ends in death of patients suffering from it, and that is why I find it to be very important to research ways of saving lives.
I know that you’ve been working in vascular surgery for eleven years now — what do you do to keep abreast of the latest developments in your field of medicine?
My colleagues and I take part in various conferences and meetings which are devoted to our field of surgery. I’ve had an opportunity to represent our Clinic at various European symposia, in Madrid, in Paris and other places. Two years ago I attended a medical congress at St Petersburg. We always stay abreast of the latest developments, and I think we provide therapy at a high, world level, even though we are working under difficult conditions.
Did you receive any invitations to work abroad?
No, I did not. Besides, don’t forget that I am a military man. But specialists from our hospital take part in various programs which are connected with NATO. Our doctors are working in Iraq and Afghanistan. I do not exclude a possibility of my working in similar missions too.
Let’s go back to the present situation — your Clinic has recently purchased an expensive piece of medical equipment, a digital angiograph. Do you think it will take long to learn how to use it properly?
In November next year we shall open a new department — a department of endovascular surgery, and it is in that department that the new digital angiograph will be installed. This piece of equipment will help us make diagnoses and perform operations at a much more sophisticated level. Vessels in any part of the body need to be thoroughly examined, be it in the brain, heart or limbs. The new equipment will make it possible to conduct operations without actual surgery, with the help of special devices such as stents which will restore vascular potency. Coronography, that is the examination of the heart vessels, will be carried out with further stenting of arteries, which will restore their permeability. Such procedures will help prevent myocardial infarction and myocardial ischemia, and also it will help perform complex cardio surgery.
Will it become possible then to prevent certain diseases?
Yes, it will be possible to prevent infarctions by stenting coronary arteries. In most cases, endovascular therapies will be performed in such a way that the patients will have to stay in hospital but for a short time. It means that we will be able to provide treatment for a greater number of patients — beginning with 200 patients a year and later up to 300 or even 400 patients a year.
Did you hear the rumors that the military hospital is to be moved from the place it has been occupying since its foundation in Pechersk to a place somewhere out of town?
Yes, I’ve heard these rumors, and I can tell you that everyone who works here reacts to them highly negatively. For the 250 years of the hospital’s existence a certain aura has been created at this place, and this aura inspires the doctors and gives energy not only to patients but to all those who come here… Yes, I have to admit that now, when the hospital is a complex of many buildings, certain difficulties do emerge. It would be probably better if everything were concentrated in one big building — it could be of some advantage in the hospital’s work, but the main thing is the bioenergetics of the hospital, the salubrious atmosphere, the trees in the territory of the hospital where our patients feel themselves very comfortably.
Yes, I was very impressed by those giant poplars — and I saw other people looking at them in admiration. I wonder whether you have a favorite place in the territory of the hospital?
Well, I like the whole place, but my favorite place is the surgery where I spend most of my time.
The work of a physician involves a lot of stress and a great emotional tension. What do you do for relaxation?
The best relaxation is when you know that the operation has been a success. When you know that you’ve saved a life, you forget about physical exhaustion. It relaxes you and brings you back to norm automatically. But I nevertheless do some physical exercises to restore my strength — I do some bicycling and swimming. And I don’t have to go far from my home for that — I live next door to Holosiyivsky Park, or I go to Pirohiv, the place where the open-air Museum of Folk Architecture is situated. It’s like a huge wonderful park. When I have vacations, I go to my native village of Markova, in the Land of Ternopilshchyna… My mother now works in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk. It was there that my medical education began at a medical school. I keep a close contact with my mother, telling her about my work and life and problems. I think it’s her prayers that protect me and give me vigor.
I know that you have a daughter — is she a doctor too?
My daughter Katrusya was born in St Petersburg when I was studying there. She is studying to be an economist, not a doctor, though she did show some interest in what I was doing. I’ve never tried to influence her choice of occupation — she must have a free choice. I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I was about fifteen. I lived in a village and knew well the villagers’ complaints about the lack of medical care and about the low quality of medical services, and I always wanted to be of help to them.
What are you going to do during your vacations this year?
I hope we’ll go to Egypt to have a rest. “We” includes my wife, my daughter and me. I’m looking forward to spending some time with them. Also, I want to go to Israel, to visit the “eternal” city of Jerusalem, to go to Jordan to see the rock city of Petra, to take many swims in the Red Sea. Also, I’m planning to go to St Petersburg for a reunion of my former fellow students — we shall mark the fifteenth anniversary of our graduation. Then I’d like to go to Moscow in connection with my research — that’s about all that has been planned for the vacations!
Do you have any advice for our readers what to do in order to keep vascular diseases at bay?
Unfortunately, cardiovascular diseases are at the top of the list among all other diseases that the humankind are afflicted with. The number of such diseases is growing in Ukraine too, and the culprits are the environmental pollution and stress. Exercises, fresh air, good sleep, good diet that includes sufficient amounts of juices and water, fruit and vegetables and almost excludes cakes and other delicacies will be very helpful. Eat as though you were poor and you will be rich in health!
Photos has been provided by the Clinic
Clinic of Vascular Surgery at the Main Military Clinical Medical Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
18, Hospitalna Str., Kyiv, 01133
Tel: (044) 521-84-62; 8-050-685-11-03; 8-067-193-26-85 (head physician)
(044) 521-82-69 (staff)
The Main Military Clinical Hospital is 250 years old;
Volodymyr Rohosovsky, physician of the Clinic of
Vascular Surgery at the Main Military Hospital, hopes
that rumors about possible relocation of the
hospital from its historical place are unsubstantiated.
On average, Volodymyr Rohosovsky performs from
5 to 7 operations a week, and 3 of them are usually
exceptionally complicated; on many occasions,
he has to come to work on weekends and at night.
The historical and architectural landmark and
museum Kyivska Fortetsya is located next door
to the hospital; the fortress was built in 18th–19th
centuries and is one of the biggest fortresses of its
kind in the world; among the items shown in the
museum is a vast collection of historical miniatures.
On the medical staff of the Vascular Surgery are 6
highly qualified surgeons, two of whom are
recipients of the honorary title of Merited Surgeon
of Ukraine and three are surgeons of Top Category,
plus 24 experienced nurses.