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On-line version ISSN 1806-907X
Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. vol.58 no.6 Campinas Nov./Dec. 2008
Valdir Medrado, the Professor
("On doit la verité aux morts" - Bousset)
Valdir Cavalcante Medrado died on August 15, 2008. And it would be a tremendous omission if his death were not mentioned, since he was one of the greatest exponents of Brazilian anesthesiology. He was an active society member: he was president of the SBA, created the mobile SBA, which brought to distant state capitals, at a time the internet or even widespread long-distance calls were not available (1973), the necessary actualization for the development of anesthesiology. The best speakers, including Valdir Cavalcante Medrado, were chosen to discuss subjects of their specialty on in the most distant state capitals in Brazil, when colleagues in those cities had the opportunity to listen and discuss important subjects with Alvaro Eugênio, Zairo Vieira, Carlos Parsloe, Danilo Duarte, Guilherme Kurtz (pharmacology researcher and an authority on subjects pertaining to anesthesiology, especially neuromuscular blockers). Valdir Medrado gave important contributions to our subspecialty. He was one of the pioneers on the use of continuous epidural obstetric analgesia in Brazil (which was presented by Philip Bromage, in 1960, during the Brazilian Congress of Anesthesiology in Goiânia), and he also brought to us, from Duke University (his academic niche in the USA), the FNS, the "pocket" vaporizer for halothane and methoxyflurane, which was later manufactured by Grego/Dameca, a manufacturing plant in Belo Horizonte. And it was Valdir who introduced the C-581, the future Ketamine (Ketalar), in Brazil, with studies and observations in a university hospital in Bahia.
But mentioning what he did is not relevant in face of who he was. What does it mean? He was one of the greatest professors of Brazilian Medicine in the field of Anesthesiology. He was passionate for what he did and had an extraordinary motivational and persuading capacity. He was not an outstanding scientist, speaker, or lecturer. He had passion for what he did and was able to motivate people. Quoting Machado de Assis**, "the truth does not win, conviction does". He was not known for his dialectic resources, but he had ideas and passion, and these were his tools to persuade and convince. Valdir prepared more than 200 anesthesiologists in Bahia. He brought dignity to our subspecialty. He was an example of the importance of anesthesiology in medicine. He was the Medical Director of renowned hospitals in Bahia; he was a member of the Regional Council and of the Medical Association of Bahia (ABM from the Portuguese), where he planned and introduced ABM meetings in inner regions of the state. He reactivated and published the Medical Journal of Bahia, and pioneered the installation of ICUs in Salvador. He attended almost forty American anesthesiology congresses and brought the ASA Refreshers, considered the gold standard of our field, to Brazil. And, until recently, Dr. Valdir was present in all Brazilian Anesthesiology Congresses, and he had an important role in organizing those held in Bahia. And last, but not least, he was always present in every meeting of the SAEB, travelling throughout the state in the buses that took participants from the capital, many of them his former students, almost all of them young professionals who found on him inspiration and enthusiasm to live the experiences and alternatives of the specialty.
But Valdir was not just a physician and anesthesiologist. He was passionate about life and a great cultural explorer. He found treasures where other people didn't see anything: crafts from Cachoeira; Portuguese china from Dias D'avila; anonymous artists of the popular culture; things that he showed to visitors - he was a good cicerone - that marveled everyone (he made a mistake though by taking Severinghaus, a world famous anesthesiology scientist, to the first and only shopping center of Bahia at the time, who, almost shouting, expressed his displeasure: "Why did you bring me to this American shopping center?"). Valdir was deeply upset by what happened, but on a post card sent from the USA, Severinghaus thanked his warm welcome, saying he liked everything about Bahia, "least that shopping center", indicating that both of them were marked by the episode.
Valdir left behind a wife, children, and grandchildren, and a positive remembrance in everyone who were touched by his influence and witnessed his perseverance at work and the example of his ethical medical conduct.
* TN: "to impinge
the truth on the death".
** TN: A Brazilian writer.