Jacques Bernheim, Nadia Kuprina, Georgina B. Piccoli, Janos Rado and Stanley Sheldon (2012) vignette 2 by Janos Rado (See also Photo Archives, Individual Photos)
History of the photo taken on May 24, 2012, in Paris (inhn.org. July 19, 2018)


           During the first days of Spring 2011 I was informed by László Rosivall, President of the Hungarian Kidney Foundation, that I had been chosen by Pierre Ronco, Professor of Nephrology, Hôpital Tenon (Hôpitaux Universitaires Est Parisien), Paris, for an in-depth interview. It was known at that time that Pierre Ronco had been selected for President of the Congress of Nephrology to be held in Paris in May 2012 and Laszló Rosivall was a member of the Scientific Comittee of that Congress. Professor Rosivall’s decision was endorsed by a voting in the Steering Commitee of the Hungarian Society of Nephrology.

           The interview was conducted by Dr. G.B. Piccoli on September 13, 2011, in Bruxelles, Belgium, in a cafe on the Grote Markt, and was filmed by Gilberto Richiero and his photographer, in the presence of Professors Ronco and Rosivall and my wife.

           The interview was about patients and doctors; clinical medicine and nephrology; and personal history and views, including my life story and achievements.

           Seven years later, on April, 2018, Piccoli wrote an article in BMC Nephrology entitled “On the shoulders of giants. The story behind the Pioneers of Nephrology project” (Piccoli, Jaar and Henderson 2018). In the article she declares: “…the interviews are not dealing with their achievements and their success: they try to pass on to future generations the idea of how they were, why they were passionate, what they loved, and, last where they found poetry in our profession.”

           My interview was one of 27 interviews of the “Pioneers of the Archives of European Nephrology,” among them an interview with the “Master of the Masters,” Gabriel Richet, at that time 97-years-old (Piccoli, Richiero and Jaar 2018). The interviewers wanted to listen to the stories of the Pioneers and compose from them a film to be presented on the evening of the Opening Ceremony of the XIIth congress of Nephrology held in Paris on May 24, 2012.

           The spirit of the interview was very special indeed. I cannot describe it in simple words. It is well characterized, however, with Piccoli’s own words in the quotation above. The interview was (also) about poetry, i.e., poetry in medicine. Piccoli has a sui generis gift (among several other talents) of making poetry even from nephrology. Piccoli is a nephrologist in Torino, Italy (nowadays also in Le Mans, France), and an internationally known poet.

           Piccoli describes the story of her achievement in the Archives of the European Nephrology. The project began almost 30 years ago when, with her two friends (David and Paolo), they made a film about Shoah (the Holocaust). Her next film was about the Pioneers of Nephrology, with Giorgina’s self-selected producer Pierre Ronco. Although David and Paolo did not take part in this film, concerning the interviews David suggested to Giorgina: “take the poetry out of them. It has to deal with poetry in the end” (Piccoli, Jaar and Henderson 2018). So, when I got the question about poetry in the course of the interview, I responded with a short story of my medical life.

           I had observed the development of an interventricular septal defect (the first case in Hungary) in one of my cardiac patients when I was a young resident in 1954, in the János Hospital of Budapest. My chief, the great internist Fodor Imre, however, did not believe in this diagnosis. So, I went to the chief pathologist (Professor Antal Kálló) noting my diagnostic opinion. Everyone on the staff from the medical and pathological departments was present at the necropsy when my clinical diagnosis was confirmed. I was sure that I would be fired and there would be no job offer in any hospital in Hungary in the near future. After a sleepless night, next day I participated in the morning conference as usual, Imre Fodor declared that he was proud to publish with me this interesting, rare, extraordinary case (Fodor, Kincsesy and Rado 1955; Radó, Kincsessy and Fodor 1958). Later, in 1956. when he suffered from a deadly disease, Fodor invited me to join his treatment team, even though I was the youngest member in the department. What is this, if not poetry?

           In the photograph taken on May 24, 2012, by my wife, G.B. Piccoli stands between Nadia Kuprina, opera singer, and me on the stage of the Big Auditorium of the Conference Center Paris. In the photo you can see two others, Stanley Sheldon, one of the founding fathers of the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA) and a famous British-French nephrologist, and Jacques Bernheim, eminent nephrologist from Israel. (Unfortunately, both have since died). The other 24 famous nephrologists on the stage are not seen in this photo, among them Gabriel Richet, Stewart Cameron, Evert Dorhout Mees, Carl Eric Mogensen, Anita Aperia, Eberhard Ritz and Eliahou Ypersele.

           The complete interview series of all Nephrology Pioneers can now be seen on videos on the ERA-EDTA website (era-edta.org). In the near future plans are underway for their edited text to be available in a remarkable new series of BMC Nephrology. The editor of this journal is none other than Giorgina Piccoli, shown in the photo between Nadia Kuprina and me.



Fodor I, Kincsesy A, Rado J. Az interventricularis septumperforatio klinikája és pathológiája (Diagnosis and pathology of perforated interventricular septum; intravital observation of two cases). Orvosi Hetilap 1955; 96: 1293-300.

Piccoli, GB, Jaar, BG, Henderson H. On the shoulders of giants. The story behind the Pioneers of Nephrology project. Nephrology 2018; 1: 58-9

Piccoli, GB, Richiero G, Jaar, BG The Pioneers of Nephrology-Professor Gabriel Richet: “I will maintain.” BMC Nephrology 2018; 19:60.

Rado J, Kincsesy A, Fodor I. Die klinischen und pathologischen Probleme der interventrikulären Septumperforation im Lichte der Literatur und unserer eigenen Fälle. (Clinical and pathological problems of the intraventricular septum perforation in the light of the literature and our own cases). Zeitschrift fur die Gesamte Innere Medizin und ihre Grenzgeiete 1958; 13: 227-35.


December 20, 2018