The history of MNIOI in persons. Sergey Ivanovich Sergeev. Director from 1972 to 1976 .

“The success of the case in providing medical care is determined by the organization”

These were the favorite words of N.I. Pirogov, the great Russian surgeon, whom Sergei Ivanovich Sergeev revered as his main teacher. We continue the series of publications dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the P.A. Herzen Moscow Research Oncological Institute, a branch of the NMIC of Radiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia. Today we will tell you about the eighth head of the Institute, a man of very outstanding character and destiny – Sergey Ivanovich Sergeev.

Seryozha Sergeev was born in 1917 in Svobodny, Amur Region, in the family of a railway worker. By the way, the city of Svobodny, also known as Alekseevsk, has been the capital of the Amur Railway since 1916, part of the Transsib, built by 1914 and connecting St. Petersburg with Blagoveshchensk and Khabarovsk. It was one of the most ambitious projects of the Russian Empire before the First World War.

The second most important occupation in these parts, and maybe the first, was gold mining

In 1917, the February and then the October revolutions took place in the country, and therefore the new authorities renamed the city of Alekseevsk, named after the last heir to the throne of Tsarevich Alexei, into the city of Svobodny. The Sergeevs, like the whole country at that time, lived hard, but little Seryozha really wanted to study and went to primary school on “freight trains” – freight trains passing by his house. And one day a disaster happened: he could not resist and fell under the wheels of a train and lost his leg. He spent the rest of his life – more than half a century – on a prosthesis, but his extraordinary determination and willpower made others forget about this circumstance.  He tried to be the first everywhere – at school, at the institute, in life.

After graduating from the 8th grade, Sergey, like many of his peers of that time, went to work at the age of 14 to help his family. In 1935, he entered the labor faculty (under Soviet rule, a system of simplified access to higher education for working and peasant youth and demobilized Red Army soldiers) Far Eastern (now Khabarovsk) Medical Institute.  Of course, here Sergey Ivanovich showed his character as a leader – he became not only a Komsomol member, but also the first named scholarship holder on the course. It was here that his long–standing dream of helping people like him with serious injuries came true – he became interested in surgery.

The day before the start of the Great Patriotic War, Sergei Ivanovich graduated with honors from the Khabarovsk Medical Institute. Of course, for health reasons, he was not taken into the active army, but while studying in residency, the young surgeon took up to 20 daily shifts per month, performed more than 500 operations, as his teacher and mentor, a well-known professor of that time S.V. Geynats, wrote in the description.  Sergeyev passed the competition for the position of assistant of the surgical clinic at the university.  In 1945 he defended his PhD thesis, in 1950 he headed the Department of Faculty Surgery, replacing his beloved teacher.  

Sergey Ivanovich was surprisingly able to combine the traditions of his teachers, and boldly experiment, attract students to the work of the cathedral clinic. This symbiosis gave amazing results. An excellent school was formed at the department, which subsequently gave many big names in medicine: Professor V.I.Kustov, Doctor of Medical Sciences Z.N. Aitakov, associate professor N.I. Misyul, L.A. Turchina, A.A. Yankevich, Yu.S. Bondar.

Oncology and surgery have become one of the leading areas of scientific work of the department. The staff of the cathedral clinic put into practice modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, mastered the most complex operations on the heart, blood vessels, lungs, and many of them were performed for the first time in the Far East and the Urals.  Doctors of city clinics were also involved in the active work of the department.

In 1950, S.I. Sergeev was appointed head of the surgical department of the regional hospital, and then its chief physician. Today she bears his name.

Despite the very heavy workload, Sergeyev continued to operate himself, and, as a rule, took on the most difficult cases. As his colleagues recall, Sergey Ivanovich had a special manner of operating – fast and confident movements of his hands and fingers – and amazing endurance at the operating table.  He always filled out the protocols of surgical interventions himself, often accompanying them with original drawings.  

All his life, Serey Ivanovich came to work before anyone else, and many employees had the feeling that he never left her. 

In 1968, Professor S.I. Sergeev became rector of the Khabarovsk Medical Institute, and in 1972 – Director of the Herzen Institute of Medical Sciences (now a branch of the NMIC of Radiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia).

New assignment  Sergey Ivanovich accepted with the usual enthusiasm. Simultaneously with the management of the Institute, he served as the head of the Department of abdominal oncology and continued to operate. S. I. Sergeev paid much attention to new directions in science and improvement of the material and technical base of the oncological service.  It was during his leadership in 1972 that a group of optical quantum generators was identified at the Institute, which studied the effect of continuous laser radiation on malignant neoplasms, which allowed the development of a method for the treatment of skin and mucous membrane cancer based on CO2.

In 1973, a laboratory of clinical immunology of tumors was opened at the Institute, headed by Professor V.V.Gorodilova.  At that time, the USSR took part in large-scale international studies of the nature of immunological reactions in cancer patients and the development of immunotherapy tools. The work was led by academicians Blokhin and Trapeznikov. The basic laboratory of the Russian part of the research was the Laboratory of Clinical Immunology of tumors of the P.A. Herzen MNIOI.

In the same year, 1973, a blood transfusion department was opened at the Institute.  In 1975, the group of clinical chemotherapy of the MNIOI became a scientific and methodological center for drug therapy of malignant neoplasms in the RSFSR. The country was actively gaining momentum in solving the problems of cancer control and needed to replenish the professional staff of the oncological service.  On the initiative of leading oncologists, departments and courses in oncology are being opened in medical universities of the country.  Sergey Ivanovich personally supervised the creation of such a department in the Second Medical Institute named after N. I. Pirogov, where back in 1959 he defended his doctoral dissertation and became the youngest doctor of sciences in the Far East. A grateful student paid tribute to his beloved university.

In addition to medicine, Sergey Ivanovich was always very willing to do public work, was a deputy of the Khabarovsk Territory, the Moscow City Council, and the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR of two convocations. Participated in the development of international standards for the treatment of oncological diseases. He was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Orders of the October Revolution, the Badge of Honor, and the title of Honored Doctor of the RSFSR.  Sergey Ivanovich was the chairman of the All-Russian and deputy All-Union Societies of Oncologists, and this fact of his biography requires special attention.

The fact is that in the twentieth century in Russia, despite the obvious successes of domestic oncology, the professional community managed to hold only one congress – in 1914 in Petrograd. After that, the social upheavals of the early twentieth century – revolutions and wars – for a long time “pushed” social activities and professional meetings into the background. Our teachers built, created, restored. And only the previous director of the P.A. Herzen Institute, academician A.S. Pavlov, who had been interning abroad for many years and understood the importance of personal communication and exchange of experience between specialists, began to revive the traditions of professional communication. In 1972, the First All–Union Congress was held, and in 1973 – the First All-Russian Congress of Oncologists, at which Academician A.S. Pavlov was elected chairman of the All-Union Society, and Professor S.I. Sergeev was elected chairman of the All-Union Society.

The first congress of oncologists of Soviet Russia in Ufa was a significant event in the life of the country. It discussed the most important topics of the development of the oncological service as a whole: issues of carcinogenesis, early diagnosis, the widespread use of cytological research methods, the latest achievements of radiation therapy in the practice of dispensaries and clinics, options for complex treatment, strengthening the material and technical base.  And the initiators of many of them were our heads of the Institute – Academician A.S. Pavlov and Professor S.I. Sergeev.

In addition to a huge personal contribution to medicine, Professor Sergeev also brought up his personal shift – he became the founder of a wonderful medical dynasty.  Both of his daughters are famous doctors.  Natalia Sergeevna — Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor, Head of the Department of prognosis of the effectiveness of conservative treatment of P.A. Herzen MNIOI. Victoria Sergeevna is also a professor, she worked for many years at the Department of Histology of the N. I. Pirogov RNIMU.  Grandson – Sergey Sergeevich Pirogov – MD, Head of the center “Endonko” of the P.A. Herzen Moscow State Research Institute. The granddaughter is a candidate of medical sciences, ultrasound specialist of one of the largest medical centers.

Until the last days of his life, Sergei Sergeyevich did not lose touch with his small homeland and the Far East, he was interested in the success of his students.  On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Khabarovsk hospital’s return to the status of a regional hospital, he sent a touching greeting: “How I would like to be with you on this day. With deep respect, your professor, March 24, 1976.”

Sergey Ivanovich Sergeev died at the age of 59 on December 12, 1976. He was buried at the Kuntsevo cemetery in Moscow.

Press Service of the NMIC of Radiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia

Published 13 April 2023

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