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In memoriam Prof. Dr. Alexandru Pesamosca

JPSS december 2013 Page 04 Image 0001On March 14, 1930 came into being the man who was going to defeat life as only the elected ones do. “They defeat in their mind. They come to this world with noble destinies; they live to create and leave as kings. They fill the world’s voids and empty the seas’ plenitude. Never, never do they die complete!” (George Cosbuc - “Non omnis moriar - At the tomb of Timotei Cipariu”). This was the life of a great doctor who the Romanians take pride in 1954 he graduated Medical School in Bucharest.

In 1957, Dr. Pesamosca started his university career in pediatric surgery at the Clinic Hospital for Children, “Grigore Alexandrescu”, under the leadership of Professor D. Vereanu. In 1965, he became primary care physician. In 1970, he wrote his PhD thesis, based on his rich experience, entitled “Contributions to the diagnosis and treatment of anorectal malformations”.

In 1971, he was, for a year, a scholar at “Hopital des Enfants Malades”, in Paris. Between 1972-1984, he was Chief of the Surgery Department at the Clinic Hospital for Children, “Grigore Alexandrescu”.

In 1984, when the new Hospital “Maria Sklodowska” was inaugurated, he was appointed Chief of Surgery and Orthopaedic Department, where he worked until 2002, when due to some health problems, retired from his official position. All along his prestigious career, Dr.Pesamosca operated on more than 40,000 patients, with various diseases, from different areas: digestive, thoracic, urology, and orthopaedic surgery.

Intense scientific activity is reflected in a number of 390 papers, published or presented at different national or international scientific reunions, co-editor in 5 books and a number of 20 medical films, introduction of new surgical techniques in the domain of anorectal surgery, urine and feaces incontinence.

In child’s thoracic pathology he was a pioneer both for pulmonary malformations and acquired diseases. Between 1972 and 1975, he developed thoracic surgery on newborns. It represents a valid lesson even today, and we are thankful to Dr.Pesamosca for it.

From 1964, he was the very first who initiated and realized the total and parțial substitution of the oesophagus with left colon graft in 452 cases, accumulating one of the largest series of patients of this kind in the world. We must also mention his special contribution to portal hypertension in children, another difficult domain, by realizing over 100 porto-caval shunts.

He was awarded the title of university professor in 1991and that of member of the Romanian Medical Academy, in 1993,in recognition of his prolific activity. Treatment of cleft lips and palate represented another aspect of Prof. Pesamosca preoccupations.

He distinguished himself not only for the surgical precision, but especially for his creative, artistic spirit, directly contributing to promoting and supporting the Millard, Duhamel techniques, whose adept he was. Vascular malformations with different localizations represented another pathology he passionately approached, with the wisdom of a complex surgeon, combining vascular surgical techniques with plastic surgery.

The present and future generations should be reminded that Prof. Alexandru Pesamosca was the one who, alongside his friends, D. Vereanu, M. Socolescu, T. Dicescu(Bucharest), N.Niculescu, G. Ionescu (Iași), V. Fufezan (Timisoara) had an essential contribution to the development of pediatric surgery in Romania.

A refined observer of human nature, especially of children, he managed to combine creatively the professional rigours with the artistic skill to obtain a complete medical act. Pediatric surgery represented the medical domain where Prof. Pesamosca could express himself harmoniously, precisely and vigorously. His devotion and self sacrifice determined the ones around him work ceaselessly, wearing themselves out with joy and satisfaction. In 2002, he supported the creation of a new lab of experimental surgery, inaugurated in the presence of some members of the Medical Academy. A

s a far-sighted doctor, during the last 25 years, he realized the importance of congenital malformations, of oncologic pediatrics, of pediatric urology, and the necessity to separate the pediatric surgery from pediatric orthopaedics, in order to maintain a correct standard in the surgical treatment of children. The Ministry of Health legislated it, aligning us to the European norms. Therefore, the Romanian pediatric surgery was recognized as a speciality by itself, affiliated to UEMS and EUPSA. In the same spirit he militated to outline the pediatric urology, as a specific entity, with a definite profile, as it is the practice in many countries for over 22 years.

As President of the Romanian Society of Pediatric Surgery and Orthopaedics, from 1987 to 2000, he represented the country at WOFAPS. Aristotle’s words “devotion is the condition of virtue” guided the activity of the extraordinary doctor in performing difficult congenital malformations operations in the presence of Romanian and foreign colleagues. Gifted with a refined artistic taste he conducted the play so perfectly that, in the end each patient benefited of a long lasting solution to his problem. What Divinity lacked to accomplish, the master surgeon came to complete and render the functionality of the injured organs. Through his daily activity he set up a school, that continued to carry on his work and methods in treating children specific pathology. He always recognized with joy and respects his affiliation to the Romanian and French school of general surgery.

The period of time spent together with the titans of Romanian surgery: N. Hortolomei, I. Juvara, Al. Cosacescu, Bradu Fotiade, Marian Ionescu, Dan Gavriliu, Dan Setlacec, Dan Fagaraseanu, or French surgeons: Denys Pellerin, Duhamel had a significant influence on his activity. For his distinguished merits in promoting medical education, he was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Universities of Chisinau, Constanta and Craiova.

In 2000, the Romanian Presidency awarded him with the National Order of Faithful Service in the Rank of Commander, as a tribute to his entire activity. Alexandru Pesamosca was and will always be a shy but courageous man, a gentle but strong man, an open minded spirit. That was Pesamosca saga. His voice is still heard in the operation theatres, in the lecture rooms. The originality of his behaviour and discourse are still present. His memory will forever live in the minds of each pediatric surgeon, who had the privilege to meet him, because, as La Bruyere said: “there is no excess more beautiful that the excess of gratitude”.


Sebastian Ionescu,

Editor in Chief, Associated Professor, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Surgery