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6th June 2017. This morning I got a phone call from Michael, telling me of a dreadful loss.
He is mourning his sister, who died at the age of 85 Y.O.
“I was very close to her” he told me. “It was all so sudden. He recently lost his brother, not exactly young either.
I had many thoughts about this conversation. There is something innocent in his approach to life. This “living and dying” arrangement does not agree with him. Michael will live forever, I say. His life resembles someone in their forties who is making plans for their next forty years.
Michael takes off from Berlin for Israel on Monday morning. He will be coming back after 2-3 weeks. During this time, he will also be in Paris, Moscow, Beijing and Mumbai.
I have never met another man like Michael. If you have, it must be him that you met. His vast portfolio of activities crosses the fields of science, social matters, countries and continents. He is a professor, a doctor, he is a gynaecologist, he is a surgeon, he is an inventor, a leader, a manager, a husband, a father, a grand-father, and a friend.
During my life, I have been around many successful people. The more successful they were, their ego was their dominant character trait; this is not so with Michael. He belongs to the communities he serves. He is not about himself, not about his needs. He is about the cause, his mission. He is a “Medical-Ghandi”. He is there for his patients. The financial gains and his very widely recognized status serves as a conveyer to mobilize his knowledge to the next convention, medical centre, or a needy hospital in a poor country.
He talks to ambassadors, business-leaders, his milieu is the leaders of the European medical realm. He will accept your telephone call, at any hour. You may call him for a relative or friend that needs attention. Michael will listen to you, and deal with your case. He will not forget, it will not be “less important” than any other issue on his agenda, no matter who you are or what your status, he will call back and provide you with his medical advice, or set you on best trajectory for a better chance of recovery. His friends are from different countries, faiths, and from all walks of life. He is a patriot for his own country, the State of Israel, and fully respectful to other faiths, cultures, and beliefs. He avoids arguments and conflicts.
Michael’s impressive career goes back to 1970, when he started his medical school in Vienna. He lived in Vienna in a rented small apartment which belonged to an old lady. He was cold in the winter.
The building was yellow. How do I know? Well, when you travel with Michael along the streets of Vienna, he will show you the yellow building. tell you a story; take you to another world. His world. It is the start of his journey, which is still going on, and shows no signs of ending.
My relationship with Michael began two years ago. I first met him in a coffee shop in Tel- Aviv. Through a noisy coffee shop the “sparks of the stark” became obvious. I was impressed with his story, the career which is world – widely recognized; I could not stay indifferent to his glowing personality.
As we started to work together, I felt the slow penetration of his personality to my senses. He is generous in giving complements, he will criticize you in a way that makes you feel you are being caressed. He is a true gentleman; his European gestures leave you in no doubt of the area in the world where his personality was shaped. I saw Michel in work meetings and in gatherings, and I am still amazed with the speed that people come to like him.
At his age and at a time when some people may be in decline, he is telling me about his will to support long-term projects. He looks to the future, and when God will call him, he will probably leave a patient on the operating table or not reach the end of a medical examination.
He is a doctor, we should not forget.
Prof. Dr. Michael Stark is specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. His main interest is gynecological oncology. He initiated the VIEZION project which combines targeted chemotherapy – stem cell therapy for improving post-surgical Oncological treatment.
He is currently the scientific and medical advisor of the ELSAN, a French group of 82 Hospitals. He is a guest scientist at the Charite University hospital in Berlin.
Since 2004 he has been the President of the New European Surgical Academy (NESA), an international inter-disciplinary surgical organization with members in 54 countries and a formal cooperation agreement with FIGO concerning transmission of knowledge to countries with limited resources.
In 2011, Prof. Stark was nominated as the Medico Del Anno (Doctor of the Year) in Italy, and is an Honorary Member of the French, Polish, Russian and Italian Gynecological Associations.
In the years 1983-2000 he was the medical director and head of the Ob/Gyn department of the Misgav Ladach General Hospital in Jerusalem, and between 2001 and 2009 the chairman of all Ob/Gyn departments of the HELIOS Hospital Group in Europe. He was the scientific director of the European novel Tele-surgical system. He was the visiting Professor at the Universities of Toronto, Moscow, Beijing, Milan, Adana, Uppsala and the Weill-Cornell University hospital in New York.
He modified operations like the vaginal and abdominal hysterectomy and cesarean section, and developed the concept of single-entry natural orifice surgery. He was involved in the development of the trans-oral thyroidectomy and Trans-Douglas abdominal surgery.
At the end of this article, after you have read all the above, perhaps you are impressed just as I am, yet here comes the cherry on the top of the cake. Michael is a pianist. He is a real musician. He has a piano at home which he plays on at his short breaks. Then, after a long work-related-phone conversation you have with him, you will suddenly get a “ping” on your phone with a nice Rachmaninov piece he wants to share with you.
I am grateful to have met Prof. Michael Stark.
A Doctor, a musician, a friend
Then Michael reads this article. I asked his permission to post it on my site. He calls me to say that I “overdid it” used phrases that are not really him. Well, modesty, I said it.
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