Editor's comment
Remembering the Legend
26 November, 2015
The famous Georgian physician and scientist Joseph Zhordania would have turned 120 this year. The world is familiar with the story of his heroic deed: He saved a young girl from drowning as a result of an airplane catastrophe over the ocean, having given the little one his life-belt and knowing that he had never learnt how to swim. But death was only a physical end of the great man’s life. His powerful medical legacy has survived forever to serve the
generations of men and women to come. The influence of Joseph Zhordania is limitless in the medical world in general and in female physiology in particular.

Professor Zhordania managed to foresee the future of the new medical field, called reproductology, in Georgia and in the world, which was a huge ideological breakthrough in the field of medicine at that time – the 50’s of the last century – thus running ahead of his era minimum by thirty years. Zhordania was the first to found a special institution in Georgia in 1958, working on the problems of reproductology. As a matter of fact, the United States of America repeated the effort as late as 1979.

Says Professor Archil Khomasuridze: “There are many stories going around, describing Professor Zhordania’s life. I would love to throw in a couple of them which I have personally experienced. Then, I had just been appointed the director of the famous Zhordania Institute, and once, sitting in front of television cameras, I was asked a question by a journalist: Would you have behaved the same way as Zhordania did at that difficult moment?’ The question was hard to answer but I found a diplomatic way out by saying that I enjoy only one advantage compared to him – I know how to swim. The public reaction to my response was noisy then. Time lapsed and things changed. I made numerous attempts to find the answer to the tricky question with sincere openness. Finally, after a quarter of a century, I knew the correct response – Yes, I would have behaved exactly the same way.”
This is how the legends work! And indeed, the story of Joseph Zhordania’s heroism has truly turned into a legend, which he totally deserves. Legends can play but a positive role in our life. Legends – although certain details in them need to be given more precise definition – have a quality of nursing in nations the elevated spirituality. The same is true about the Zhordania legend, but this good man has transcended the meaning of a legend with his actual deeds to the benefit of his nation and medicinal world.

Continues Professor Khomasuridze: “I was not fortunate enough to have personally met Professor Zhordania. I was a medical student at the moment of his tragic death. But my good luck had it that the then director of the Institute professor Tsitsishvili kindly noticed me, and gave me a chance to work in the direction, outlined by Joseph Zhordania. Eventually, I myself became the leader of the famous Zhordania Institute. I am proud to admit that I have done all my possible best by thirty years of professional perseverence to bring Zhordaia’s original endeavor to successful end. Incidentally, professionalism is not the only helper in fulfilling significant missions. I have to also admit that I would never have been able to achieve what I have managed to do unless I had a support of President Eduard Shevardnadze as well as the prominent workers of the Institute like E. Veinberg, T. Bolkvadze, T. Tsertsvadze, Z. Sabakhtarashvili and others.”

What matters most is that the ideology of Professor Zhordania is still alive and working. Reproductology is an independent medical field, it is trendy, and it is developing and has adherents. Now the main thing is, notes Professor Khomasuridze, that we do not distort the Zhordania ideology and do not deviate from the direction he had once defined. And this will be the greatest monument to the memory of the eminent Georgian doctor, who dedicated his entire life and activity to the health of women and children, remaining faithful to his cause even in his demise.