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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

Print version ISSN 0037-8682

Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. vol.46 no.2 Uberaba Mar./Apr. 2013 


João Carlos da Costa (*1935 †2012)

Alcyone Artioli Machado

1Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeiro Preto, São Paulo, SP

João Carlos da Costa was born in Ribeirão Preto, State of São Paulo, Brazil, on August 5, 1935. He was the antepenultimate child in a family of 15 siblings. In 1953 he took a preparatory course for the university entrance exam and in 1954 he was approved for admission to the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo (FMRP/USP) as a member of the 3rd class. He was a serious and dedicated student although he did not fail to attend the events scheduled by his class. He was a pianist of average performance since his dedication to medicine did not permit him to further perfect this activity. He followed the score exactly, as he also did in his professional life. His performance as a pianist in the Medicine Show band was highly relevant for the group and of capital importance for the interpretation of the Medicine Show Anthem, a typical piece by a classical composer (Prof. Tulio Miraglia). The clinical observations registered by him in the medical records of patients were worth looking at because of their clarity and the correct manner with which he followed the rules. He obtained his MD on January 7, 1960 and did his Medical Residency in Internal Medicine at the University Hospital of FMRP, University of São Paulo, from February 2, 1960 to June 21, 1961. Because of his high dedication, he was invited by Prof. Hélio Lourenço de Oliveira to be a member of the Department of Internal Medicine and was then immediately convinced by Prof. Adhemar Mário Fiorillo to work in the Division of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, where he collaborated in an active and important manner to the organization of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Costa, a serious and competent professional, was liked by all students, who called him Professor “Costinha”, and by his colleagues because of his dedication to work and the affection with which he received everybody.

He obtained his Doctorate in Internal Medicine at FMRP, defending his thesis in December 1969. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, and in the Houston City Health Department Laboratory, Houston, Texas, USA, where he had contact with laboratory techniques for the research and diagnosis of respiratory viral diseases, which he then implanted upon his return to Brazil. He published papers on the diagnostic and laboratory aspects of diseases such as tetanus, rubella, syncytial respiratory virus, meningitis, paracoccidioidomycosis, and HIV/AIDs infection.

He obtained the title of Associate Professor, which at the time was the step immediately preceding the title of Full Professor at USP, in which he was never interested. He retired in 1990, but continued to be active on various fronts at the University Hospital of FMRP (HC-FMRP).

A highly motivated, competent and generous professional extremely involved with the institution and with his educational role, Professor Costa set up several services in HC-FMRP, such as the service for the Control of Hospital Infection (CCIH), where he acted as president until 2011, the Hospital Nucleus of Epidemiology (NHE), created in 1970, together with Professors José da Rocha Carvalheiro and Aldaísa Cassanho Forster, and the service for the care of women victims of violence (SEAVIDAS). He was the main articulator of the construction of the Special Unit for the Treatment of Infection Diseases (UETDI), a unit for the treatment of persons with HIV/AIDS founded in August 1996 and named after him in 1997. His major contributions were in the area of Hospital Infection, which he also transmitted to other institutions, and in the area of HIV/AIDS.

He died on November 26, 2012 in the same town where he was born, leaving a marked void in FMRP-USP, but continuing to be a symbol as a dedicated and correct professor.

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