Interview with Krystyna Knypl ( @mimax2)


What year did you begin practicing medicine?


What medical school did you attend?

Akademia Medyczna in Warsaw, Poland.

Why did you choose this career/specialty? Do you have a special story to share?

I started my postgraduate internship in internal medicine. As a diligent person, I really applied myself to the work, this attitude was noticed by my mentors and they offered me to continue training within the specialization in internal medicine and then start doctoral studies in cardiology.

What’s your most memorable case – could be one that stumped you, one that saved a life, took the longest to diagnose…

My memorable case… a young man, a journalist representing the technical press, with peptic ulcer disease and gastrointestinal bleeding, whom I examined in the emergency room almost 40 years ago. I have this patient before my eyes every day until today… this is my wonderful husband Francis.

The Polish Code of Medical Ethics states that a physician cannot exert on a patient any other influence than the therapeutic one, and I obviously had this other influence ; ) …  or… maybe it was a therapeutic effect – peptic ulcer disease was cured and has not returned during 40 years of observation. It’s a very long remission … on reflection, I think it was a therapeutic effect consistent with the code of medical ethics : )

You shared with the community that you have an impressive home library including a collection of 40+ editions of The Little Prince from around the world. How did this collection start? Do you have a personal favorite edition?

The first book from my collection I bought in 1969. I was then a 24-year-old girl, and I was in the first year of my work as a doctor.

End of medical studies, first job, new colleagues, choice of specialization – it is a time when a young person is looking for ways of life. I read The Little Prince many times at that time, I underlined many passages that impressed me. The excerpt that has made the biggest impression on me was:

“People haven’t time to learn anything. They buy things ready-made in stores. But since there are no stores where you can buy friends, people no longer have friends. If you want a friend tame me!”

The first copy has numerous underlined sections of text that I liked most. I looked at it now again, and I like invariably the same passages.

I love this copy with historical love, but I also like a rare edition in Arabic, notably the dialect used in Algiers, where I went twice.

I have a lot of fondness for a copy in Korean, bought during a trip to Seoul. In fact, each copy has its own sentimental story.

What do you think is the biggest public health challenge that your country faces?

Poland has 2 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, it is the lowest rate in Europe. This is due to two main factors – small number of medical students and the emigration of Polish doctors to other countries.

16 years ago a reform of health care based on the concept of Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG) was started in Poland. It came from the US and other European countries. The creators of this theory are Robert B. Fetter and John D. Thompson of Yale School of Management, so a business university. The rationale for the creation of this concept was to facilitate accounting of expenditures and control the actions of doctors. Could there be anything more absurd than having medicine management based on a desire to make life easier for accountants and controllers???

What’s the most absurd thing that a patient has ever asked you?

I worked in a clinic specialized in the treatment of patients with hypertension.

My longtime patient asks me for a prescription. Searching for his medical history, I ask: what medications are you taking?  Mr. X replies: Doctor! How is it possible that you don’t remember what medications I am taking??? I didn’t remember. Shame on me ; )

What are some of your favorite hobbies? How do you unwind or relax from your work?

Traveling and planning a round the world trip. Photography. I’m a photoblogger since 2007.

Do you have a favorite photograph that you’ve taken?

(See attached photos)

1 – Lisbon

2 – Warsaw, the mystery of the photograph: we do not know whether someone has just arrived or leaving

3 – Warsaw, view from my window one morning in the winter

4 – My daughter and her dad  : )

5 – Warsaw, anatomy lesson

6 – Algiers, ZOO

If you could meet one other SERMOan in real life, who would it be?

I would love to meet DocLMG, Enbastet, Sreade, Beachdaze in real life – very friendly to me. I would love to meet Gynosaurus my colleague from the internet forum for Polish physicians, he was very helpful to me in difficult times of my life. Thanks Gyno, I will always remember.

I’d love to meet all other Sermo community fellow columnists and talk about their passion for writing, because I think they all have such passion. I would also like to meet Bailey from the Sermo Team.

What is your proudest moment in your medical career so far?

I work in two professions – as a doctor (48 years of practice) and medical journalist (16 years of practice). I have a specialization in internal medicine, as well as a Ph. D. in cardiology obtained in 1974, so I’m one of the pioneers of echocardiography in my country. I also have a Specialist Diploma of the European Society of Hypertension. I am a passionate advocate of healthy lifestyle. In 2014 I received the World Hypertension League Award for Notable Achievement in Dietary Salt Reduction at Population Level. I feel fulfilled as a doctor.

The moments in which I received all the medical titles and diplomas are undoubtedly a source of pride, but I’m most proud of my career as a medical journalist. I began to pursue a journalistic career when I was 55 years old.

If you could travel to one other country to practice your specialty, which country do you think would need your services the most?

At the moment, I’m more fascinated with the work of a journalist, in particular presenting issues related to telemedicine. It brings not only a lot of opportunities, but also no less threats of which we are not always aware – both doctors and patients.

I would like to improve my journalistic (also photographic) skills in the United States. I had the opportunity to work as a journalist accredited to annual conferences such as the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology. I dream of journalistic training in the United States and to give a chance for the fulfillment of my dreams, I sent an application for the Nieman Foundation Fellowship.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you bring with you and why?

A computer with Skype and a source of energy, so that I can connect every day with my husband in Warsaw and my daughter and grandchildren in Paris.

A smartphone – in case if Skype doesn’t have a connection

A set used for brewing and a few yerbamate packs – it’s been my favorite drink since my trip to Argentina in 2008.

Let’s play 2 Truths and a Lie with the community, where you tell us 3 things about yourself, one of which is NOT true. The community will guess which one is the lie. What are your 3 “facts”?

#Dr Mimax2 doesn’t have a driving license or a car, moreover she’s never had either, she moves in space only by trams and planes.

#Dr Mimax2 dances tango masterfully with her husband, she’s mastered this art while in Argentina

#Dr Mimax2 is left-handed

Vote in our poll on this post to guess which one of these 3 facts is NOT true!

We hope you have enjoyed getting to know one of your fellow SERMOans a little better! Be sure to say hello to mimax2 if you see her around the community.