As a dental surgeon with international practice and 35 years of experience, Igor Osadchiy told us about his understanding of the profession, hobbies, and whether a doctor should have a talent.
May I ask you quite a strange question? Most know musicians, writers, and politicians by name; yet a few remember the names of doctors and medical scientists, although their inventions help them at least once in their life. Why is that?
Maybe because what they are doing is associated with pain and sufferings. Because when the pain goes away, so does the memory of those who enjoyed the fruits of their labor. The teachers I knew are outstanding people. They remained in my mind. They remained in history. My colleagues and the medical community remember them.
What do you think when people need you only when it hurts?
It is absolutely normal. It is the way it goes. They think about us when they feel bad and need us, and when everything is fine, nobody needs us. And I, frankly speaking, even like it. We should not be everyday heroes.
Why did you choose this particular profession?
My dad is a military pilot. He is my hero, my icon. I grew up in an army environment, among courageous and strong people, for whom the phrase "This is an honor!" was not empty words. And my mom left the medical university after three years of studies to devote her life to the family and moved with my dad from one military unit to another from Sakhalin to the Baltic. I had a choice between the military profession and the profession of a doctor.
I was lucky to have an exceptional person in my life – my grandfather, who spent much time with me. Once he said: "I survived a terrible war. You have to choose for yourself a profession that could protect you and help others." And when I entered medical school, I realized that it was my profession – I liked absolutely everything. As for the specialization, I wanted to be a plastic surgeon to work in aesthetic and reconstructive medicine. When I entered, I was sent to the dental faculty just because they dealt with maxillofacial surgery. I liked everything. I regret nothing and would go my way again, without a doubt.
Should a doctor have a talent?
Sure! You certainly need to polish your knowledge and skills; you need to burn with enthusiasm. But talent is a must-be. I call it "neuroleptic connection", i.e., the connection between your brain and your hands. It is hard to train if one does not have it.
Should a doctor love people?
Doctors face pain and sufferings. How can I be heartless? You must love people. Do I love people in society – that depends. But I treat my patients with respect and love.
When I was young, I worked as an intern at the maxillofacial surgery department in Kyiv. One day an ambulance brought a woman in a very severe condition. I saw her daughter, who came to me and said: "Please, save my mother!" You cannot even imagine what I felt at that moment! A newbie doctor talking to a 17-year-old girl who understood that the girl's mother had a severe blood disease, I couldn't help her. But I did the surgery. This woman smiled at me and said thank you. And her daughter was also very grateful. The next morning the woman died… I can hardly describe what I felt then… Do I love people? Certainly!
How many years have you been practicing medicine? Can you say you are used to pain?
I have been for 35 years in medicine and cannot imagine my life without my profession. If I cannot practice as a dental surgeon, I will help others with my advice and recommendations. When it comes to pain, so-called defense mechanisms of your psyche help to cope with it, but no one can get used to pain and sufferings.
Why do you think dentistry is the most growing sector of medicine?
Changes are underway in all sectors of medicine. I think dentistry is the most financially intensive medical sector. Probably, no other area of medicine sees such financial flows. I have recently visited a dental exhibition in Cologne. It was not the first international expo I have seen in my life – I’ve already been in Shanghai and Moscow... But the Cologne Expo was an inspiring experience – it is amazing to see how digital technology can be applied in dentistry! I think this is just because we can pay for all these inventions. I cannot imagine how such technology can be covered, for example, by a general practitioner.
As digital technology develops, does the role of a doctor weaken?
Just the opposite – the doctor’s role even grows. Indeed, today’s dentist must have an excellent background, both technical and medical. If a dentist does not know his primary profession, the technology will hardly be of help. In other words, technology is helpful but is not a key to excellence.
Every professional has his signature. What are your professional style and approach?
I think I am a representative of the classical school and follow the basic tenets of my school. I am interested in marketing and innovations, but the traditional principles – do no harm, help people – are much more crucial for me. I never do surgery unless clearly indicated.
What are the professional achievements you are most proud of?
You know, I have never sought fame or ministerial posts. I am proud of my skills. I am proud of what I can do, and I believe that I can do a lot of things. As for official recognition, I am proud of my Ph.D. research and international awards. My clinic has recently got SIQS Quality Certificate, and I have got an award from International Socrates Committee (Oxford) for my achievements in maxillofacial surgery.
And how did they know about you?
I have visited 56 countries so far. Probably, I am more popular abroad than in Ukraine. I cooperate with doctors from the USA, Italy, and Germany. Now I have an exciting project with Dijon Institute of Plastic Surgery, France. We share our experience and make study tours for specialists from France to Ukraine and vice versa. So, I have lots of foreign clients. They come to me not because my services are cheaper, but because they value quality and me as a specialist.
Do you combine the management of your clinic and professional practice?
I have built my clinic myself. I was a foreman and a cleaner. Building a clinic was a very challenging project – every item had to meet the standards and regulations. Every tile and every door has its design description. For example, the walls in my radiology department are protected with baric coating, and the door is lead. And there are many other examples. I also did all the legal documents myself. I have built the clinic and then contracted a manager. Management and dental practice are different things. I do not even delve into financial matters.
When can a doctor confidently say he/she is successful?
I think that a successful doctor is the one who is valued by both colleagues and patients. Success in my profession certainly depends on money, but this is not the ultimate goal. Fortunately, my colleagues respect me, and my patients appreciate what I am doing. Am I successful in the social sphere? I do not know. I think I have everything for a good life.
Anton Chekhov once said that medicine is his lawful wife, and literature is his mistress. What are your hobbies?
Chekhov is a genius. I adore him. But I think he fibbed a little because he worked in medicine and switched to another profession, just like Bulgakov and Veresaev. When I was on Sakhalin, I learned how Chekhov treated convicts. He certainly did much more in literature.
As for my hobbies, I love fine art. I know gallery owners, artists, and art historians. I helped much with the organization of exhibitions – these all gave me emotions. I also love history, in particular, the history of Kyiv. And all my life I go in for sports. Maybe now I am not very active in sports, but still, go to the gym at least three times a week.
Photo: Oleksandr Serbinov
Filming & editing: Vlad Pustovit
Location: Dental clinic of doctor Osadchy
Translation: Global Translation Services 1+1