MUDr.Otakar Kukula (2. 2. 1867 - 11. 8.1925)

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was one of the founders of modern Czech surgery. He came from a family of physicians.. The oldest one, Franz Kukula(1797- 1871) had the title of "regional healer of wounds and received a "golden key of merit.. He founded the first general hospital in Jicin in 1856 and became its director.

His son Gustav Kukula (1834-1895) was a "jail doctor� and later became director of the Jicin hospital and received many prizes and awards.

His son Dr. Otakar Kukula( 1867-1925) became the most poplar of them all. There is a memorial plaque on the house where he was born- # 59 on Husova St. in Jicin. This year marks the 80-th anniversary of his death.

Dr. Kukula studied in Vienna and in Prague where he lived most of his life. His personality and life is very well described by the accomplished psychologist Prof. Dr. Vladimir Vondracek:

"Otakar Kukula was a tall, heavy-set man. He was clean- shaven without a beard, even though beards were fashionable at the time. He had a hanging lower lip and people said that he looked like a butcher. Many also thought him to be ugly. He was a ruler in his profession, yet he was a good, kindhearted man, very supportive of his students, friend of the ladies, a smoker, drinker and deer hunter...

After graduation, Dr. Kukula started working at the surgical clinic in 1894 and became its chief of surgery in 1903 after Prof. K. Maydl. During W.W. I he became chief of surgery at the Military hospital in Karlin. In the years 1924-25 he served as Rector of Charles University and became member of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

He published more than 40 scientific papers dealing with intestinal surgery and urology. Many deal with kidney functions, kidney stones, and intestinal problems. His most important work "Pathology and therapy of the Appendix� (1913) stressed the fact that an inflamed and septic appendix must be operated on immediately to prevent inflammation of the peritoneum which caused so many unnecessary deaths in those days. He met with much opposition to his views, yet he did save many lives and his method has been proven to be correct and invaluable.

Even though Dr. Kukula suffered of angina pectoris, he never stopped smoking. Every one of his colleagues, who treated him, received from him a silver cigarette case with the inscription:� To My Executioner�.

Dr. Kukula educated a whole generation of surgeons- e.g. Julius Petrivalsky, Josef Horak, Frantisek Burian, and others. A street in Prague is named after the family of these famous surgeons.

Jirina Kotzmannova - Svobodova
translated by Marie Dolansky

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