Photo: Petar Fabijan
Co-founder and co-owner of the Terme Polyclinic in Selce and Rijeka, one of the leading experts in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation, and rheumatology. She has been at six Olympic Games and, as a sports doctor, looked after the careers of many top athletes, among them 120 Olympians
The Terme Polyclinic in Selce was the first private polyclinic specialised in physical medicine and rehabilitation in Croatia; it now has a tradition more than three decades long. Can you name a few key events in its history?
After a few years of working in the public sector, I realised that I could do more and better and that I needed more room for creativity in working with patients. The idea of starting a private practice was becoming clearer and so was the dream of it. I was strongly supported and encouraged by my husband Primarius Dr Ivan Brozičević, who told me: ‘Don’t worry, the world will come to you.’
And that’s exactly what happened. We started with a lot of enthusiasm. Our first notable success came when the athletes started coming – first they were footballers from Football Club Croatia, then the skiers Janica and Ivica Kostelić, followed by various Olympic athletes. I knew I wanted to give each patient more than they expected. In this way, we have successfully treated over 45,000 clients. Family members, two daughters and a son-in-law, who have been with us for over 20 years, our team and associates, who are our extended family, participated in this success.
What are the proudest moments of your career?
we didn’t give up even when it was hard. I’m also proud of the whole family and our team of over 30 employees, because I constantly test my limits and theirs by raising the bar on quality. That’s why, being primarily a doctor, I often take on cases that others have given up on. The decision to stay here, in the small place of Selce, to survive for 30 years in all conditions and circumstances, working 365 days a year is, I believe, something to be proud of.
At the Polyclinic, you combine medicine, sports and art. What are the patients’ experiences?
Medicine, sports, art and looking after my patients’ health are indivisible parts of my work. Rehabilitation is often a complex and time-consuming psychophysical process that needs additional stimulation and atmosphere. That is why we have a gallery, because the colours of artistic paintings also affect mood. With various events and Mediterranean delicacies, patients are more motivated. I was born in Opatija and grew up in the Miramare Hotel in Crikvenica, from where I remember many fantastic moments when the guest was king. What I learned then, I have applied in my work. Each of my clients is a ‘king’ and all their senses must be appealed to. Our patients are our best ambassadors; that’s why we try to create the atmosphere and experience that will make them want to come back. The academician Ivan Golub wrote that we are guardians of health, and I like to add that we are guardians of health, body and mind.