Services on Demand
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On-line version ISSN 1806-907X
Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. vol.54 no.2 Campinas Mar./Apr. 2004
This is not a traditional necrology, like those mentioning dates, data and titles of the departed. It is just a demonstration of how a small group, among several students and friends, misses João José de Cunto, or João, as he insisted to be called.
Three in our Service had the privilege, in addition to being his students in Anesthesiology, to count on his friendship beyond the operating center.
But before, let's recall a bit of the Anesthetist João in the O.C. Always the first to arrive, before us residents who wanted to surprise him and were welcomed with a smiling good morning and a brief inspection to see whether we were shaved ("Causes a positive impression to patient and surgeon"); then he would go to the room allocated to him and to one of us and, with an uncommon patience for such an experienced man, would teach from replacing serum lines, to diluting thiopental, puncturing the vein and intubating, to performing epidural and caudal anesthesia.
In addition to the above-mentioned patience, the good mood he would share with staff, surgeons and residents, always with a story related to what was being done or to a recently published fact was remarkable. Extremely skilled and ingenious, he would improve anesthesia machines, create small useful devices for our daily work and would give hard time to Takaoka's people asking for pieces that had to be tailored-made! (And they always did it). He liked anesthesia-related physics and math and would ask "You who have things fresh in mind, help me explain why does this happen", but very often he already knew the answer and was only encouraging us to research. He had his safety-related "principles" which he would constantly repeat to have them engraved in our minds. Minor things, major absence.
Now, let's recall João outside the O.C.
It is approximately 7:00 p.m. and the O.C. service room telephone rings:
- So-and-so (resident), how are things?
- Almost finishing, João.
- Come to my place when you finish.
And there we went, knowing that a kind reception - his and Lynéa's (his first wife, departed some years ago) - and nice food that we, residents, were obviously not accustomed to, would be waiting for us. These meetings were attended by some few surgeons, businessmen, traders, sugar mill owners and ... guitar players! João loved music and a constant at his home was a record player (phonograph) playing a number of records going from old sambas to Frank Sinatra. And there, among tales and stories, we would spend hours (and how difficult it was to wake up the next day, but a perfect João was already in the O.C.!).
If the meeting was on Saturday, it would start before lunch, by the pool (imagine a resident at his chief's pool on Saturday: this was glory!) and would continue in the afternoon under cages with his birds, which received the care he would give to the children he never had.
João would treat everyone, really everyone, the same, from the O.C. cleaning woman to the powerful sugar mill owner: he would listen to what they had to say, would give his opinion when asked and was really interested in people. In his birthday (12/4) he would host a larger party, now with Lucy, to which his FRIENDS were invited. Yes, FRIENDS with capital letters, people to whom he would ask nothing and give everything. What an honor to be remembered by him.
It hurts remembering him.
Amir Michel Kalaf, M.D.
Rogério W. Messenberg, M.D.
Jorge Yutaka Inoue, M.D.