On February 2, 2021, during the Regional Medical Chamber meeting in Łódź, Poland, Poland’s health officers presented the award “For contributions to health protection” to, among others, Seventh-day Adventist physician Tomasz Karauda.
In April 2020, the Dominika Kulczyk Foundation, in cooperation with Karauda, donated more than 20 million Polish złoties (approximately US$5.36 million) to the Doctors for Doctors Foundation. Those funds were used to purchase and distribute almost 60 tons of personal protective equipment to physicians across Poland, at a time when such equipment and resources were needed the most.
According to Karauda, the phone call from the president of the Regional Medical Chamber informing him of the award he was to receive came as a complete surprise. At the same time, he said, he sees it as an incentive. “For me, this distinction means motivation and a sign from God that I am going in the right direction, which is determined by saving people's health and lives,” Karauda said.
“Seeing so many deaths around, I noticed that what counts in the end is not the number of titles, the amount of material resources, but what is most lacking in these COVID departments filled with lonely death — the love of close people is the most lacking there,” he commented. “If with my commitment I managed to protect at least some of them from this scenario, and those who went out on my hands — to encourage them — this award is dedicated to them.”
Among the other physicians honored together with Karauda was Paweł Czekalski, president of the District Medical Council in Łódź. Czekalski also supported the medical equipment initiative by the Dominika Kulczyk Foundation. The other awardee was Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś, Metropolitan of Łódź, who organized a public fundraiser to purchase ventilators and pulse oximeters for hospitals across the Łódź Province.
The honorary badge, “For contributions to health protection,” is a one-level departmental civilian decoration awarded by the Polish Minister of Health. The award may be presented to a person once in their lifetime.
The original version of this story was posted on the Polish Union Conference website and reposted on the Trans-European Division news site.