The story of Firu Opri, a Romanian oncologist at the largest hospital in Germany: “The first rule is to be a man and only then a doctor”

He was a university professor, head of clinic in the most important German university center and even after his retirement the specialists there need his expertise.

Professor Dr. Firu Opri is from Olt, he comes from the countryside, from Bârca, and he says that every patient who is fighting the cruelest disease must be considered as a brother or a parent by those who take over his case. It is the principle by which he has guided all his activity, and he believes that empathy and healthy values, received in the family, helped him to be successful in the field of cancer.

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It’s early Monday in Berlin, and the Şteglitz sector has the best-rated residential areas for villas in the German capital.

Here the ambulances passing through the streets are not allowed to use their sirens, but the peace of the area is disturbed by the sound of a helicopter.

Nearby is Berlin’s largest university hospital, a center of excellence in German medicine. It’s called Charite and it’s the place where over 7 thousand surgeries take place every month. It has 104 clinics, 250 university professors and 4 thousand doctors. And in the campus of the university hospital, professor Dr. Firu Opri, oncological surgeon in the field of gynecology, gave us a meeting.

Prof. Dr. Firu Opri, medical specialist: “All the clinics and the medical faculty are here, and the pre-clinic and the clinic. Here was the construction according to the model of the American clinics. Any emergency, the first helicopter that was in Germany here was. Top medicine? You realize that the Charite has produced the most members who have received the Nobel prize in medicine – I’ve met them, absolutely.”

In front of the main building, a building where access is restricted due to the pandemic, the doctor tells us that, although he is at retirement age, the great center of excellence has kept him on the university oncology committee. It is a committee made up only of experts, the best doctors in Germany, professors with expertise, who give their opinion on the important cases that arise. And Professor Firu Opri brings his expertise in oncological surgery.

Prof. Dr. Firu Opri: “Within the TUMOR BOARD, as it is called, discussions are held for any patient, for any special scientific case. It’s a reality, you can no longer decide the fate of a patient by yourself. By sequencing the genome, the cancer is differentiated and then you know what treatment to do.
You have to be up to date with absolutely everything in medicine, you have to be at their level if not even higher, to be admitted into this system. And out of 24 hours, you have to be present for about 24 hours, in this sense. Here I made my career from assistant, lecturer, teacher and everything you want.”

He taught at the medical faculty in Berlin for over 30 years and is the first Romanian doctor to obtain the title of university professor in Berlin without having German citizenship. He is 86 years old and claims to be aware of the clinical trials at the Berlin cancer research center because it has interested him all his life.

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When he is not at the hospital, he has a schedule at his own clinic, on 3 floors, opened in a building opposite the town hall of the Șteglitz sector. Here he still operates and deals with important cases. He says he has patients from all over Germany, but also from abroad. He also receives monthly patients from Romania, who come to him after being diagnosed with breast cancer and other types of gynecological cancers.

He tells that patients from us end up being treated successfully in Berlin, after some doctors gave them no chance, and people went abroad with low morale. In this chapter, Professor Firu Opri talks about a principle according to which he has done his job all his life, dreaming of the relationship with patients fighting cancer.

Prof. Dr. Firu Opri: “Let the patient see as if he were your brother and vice versa. Otherwise it doesn’t work! In medicine, it doesn’t work otherwise. For me this was a law. You help him and you know that he is human like you and your brother and your mother and your father. Each case must be a special case for you. And in such a way that you can solve it to the maximum! The greatest joy is when you make a correct diagnosis and the person is saved! The common man and his symptoms, these are important, not age!”

He was born in the countryside, in Bârca commune, Dolj county, in a modest family with 6 other brothers. An outstanding student, he dreamed of becoming a doctor since childhood and graduated from the sanitary high school in Sibiu. His desire became even stronger when, after high school, he was not allowed to go to college, but was sent to work for 2 years in the mines of Valea Jiului, at Vulcan and Aninoasa.

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Prof. Dr. Firu Opri: “Then I realized that life is cruel and that if you want what you want you have to shoot, work.”

Rareș Năstase: “So you’ve also known rough work.”

Prof. Dr. Firu Opri: “There was also a lot of poverty, we were 7 brothers and we all left home.”

He studied medicine in Bucharest and there he fell in love with a German woman from the former GDR, a fellow medical student, and after graduating from the faculty, in 1969, they emigrated together, and he ended up, after 10 years, head of the oncology clinic and university professor at Berlin. Today he says that he started family doctors. He currently has several grandsons who are doctors in Craoiva, Bucharest and Timișoara, but his 3 children are also doctors in Germany, following his example. He returns annually to Bârca, where he keeps in touch with those in the community, but he is disappointed by the quality of primary medicine here, especially in rural areas. He is saddened by the exodus of doctors and nurses over the past 3 decades.

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Prof. Dr. Firu Opri: “It hurts me a lot that Romania is left without doctors. At Bârca, where there were 3 permanent doctors, currently there are none. It simply hurts when you see that the common man, from the country, there, who shot as much as he shot, does not have any kind of medical help at the end of his life. It’s unbelievable. Problems of preventive vaccination in children, there are many that accumulate. A system in which man is lost. Every time I go there, a list is made of those who enter and those who do not enter to discuss medical issues with me, there is a queue, it’s something indescribable, I’m glad.”

Rareș Năstase: “How often do you go to Romania?”

Prof. Dr. Firu Opri: “3-4 times a year.”

Prof. Dr. Firu Opri: “Health means the health of the people, not just the health of a small group of people. The problems of prevention, prophylaxis, the colon cancer test, which is a simple test, are not done. For the others, who do not know, have no relations, what do you do? There are dramas, there are dramas, there are dramas. It’s painful, I see how many people write to me for diagnosis, for treatment. I do their treatment plans and they tell me that the plan is good, but the doses and all that are not enough. It’s so painful that you don’t even know what to answer.”

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A boy from the country, sent to pickaxe, in the mine, became a surgeon, university professor, elite doctor. And he is still practicing top medicine in Germany, at an age when others have long since retired.

Prof. Dr. Firu Opri: “The wife keeps saying to leave them, but I can’t, it’s not possible.”

He became a role model in the family and in society. In a field where there are no guarantees, Professor Dr. Firu Opri says that the first rule is to be human and only then a doctor.

Source: PROTV news

Tags: Germany, Romanian doctor, oncologist,

Publication date: 01-12-2022 09:58

The article is in Romanian

Tags: story Firu Opri Romanian oncologist largest hospital Germany rule man doctor

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