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Rev. bras. ter. intensiva vol.24 no.2 São Paulo abr./jun. 2012
In ink and paper
Jose Luiz Gomes do Amaral
Opening my eyes and seeing in ink and paper my dreams from the night before. Such was the feeling I experienced when Flavia (Flavia Machado), the editor-in-chief of the Revista Brasileira de Terapia Intensiva (RBTI) told me the auspicious news about the integration of the scientific publications of the Associação de Medicina Intensiva Brasileira (AMIB) and the Sociedade Portuguesa de Cuidados Intensivos (SPCI) and invited me to write this editorial.
Memories came flooding in a disorderly succession of fragments, of shared experiences with friends who are heartily important to me.
The first of these friends, Rui (Rui Carrington da Costa), I met in Japan during a World Congress of Intensive Care in Kyoto in 1989. That meeting was over 20 years ago! Our friendship began with comments on "high-frequency ventilation" and progressed from that topic to many other considerations and subjects. Our long and delightful conversation was interrupted when we left each other for the last time in Innsbruck, Austria, after another congress on intensive care medicine. At this time, he was "articulating" (as we say in Portugal) our next meeting, but this meeting never occurred. I miss you, Rui...
We did not meet any further, but the congress of intensive care medicine was held in Lisbon, and it was a success, "materializing" (in the typical Brazilian gerund) the meeting between our intensive care doctors that he envisioned. My friendship with Rui was a story of many meetings, always full of interesting episodes, often humorous and always happy. There were invariably opportunities for me to better observe and understand our specialty and life itself. Welcoming Rui in Sao Paulo and visiting him at his beloved Coimbra were remarkable events. Whenever we met (and those occasions were not rare at all), we never had a shortage of new ideas and projects, including Luso-Brazilian initiatives. With Rui, I came to know and admire what he described as "the most beautiful scenery in the world" (and keep in mind that Rui was well-traveled and had seen much of this wide world!): the view of the University of Coimbra from the balcony of his house!
Rui introduced me to Portuguese intensive care medicine and to the Portuguese intensivists. Subsequently, these intensivists introduced me to many others. The second friend, also with this same reverie, is someone I met in 2005 in Brazil. Zé Germano (José Germano de Souza) was our guest, having accepted an invitation to come to Sao Paulo to explain to us the organization of medicine in Portugal. At the time, he was the chairman of the Ordem dos Médicos de Portugal (OMP), and I had just been elected to chair the Associação Médica Brasileira (AMB). We had barely been presented to each other, whereupon, after a few minutes of searching for common origins, we exchanged reminiscences of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores, where Jose Germano had lived in his youth, as had, two decades before him, my father and my Portuguese family. He told me about his dearest Angola, and I told him about the numerous and dedicated people from Cabo Verde whom we received in those years for residency programs at our university. We nurtured a plan to bring together Portuguese-speaking doctors in a way that would allow us to share solutions and professional achievements, as well as to cultivate the vast range of affinities that unify the Lusophone community. This vision was transformed from dream to reality much more rapidly than we could have imagined. By the next year, we had already established our "Comunidade Médica de Língua Portuguesa", the CMLP. This association was first formed by Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal, although we were soon joined by the Associação Médica de Moçambique, and we now add to this group the doctors from Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea Bissau and the Associação Médica de Macau.
From the interests of the medical profession as a whole, I now return to specialty medicine and to critical care. I was at Lisbon Airport, coming from Brazil and just about to board for Cabo Verde. There, I would meet the delegation of the OMP, which included two extraordinary figures with whom I have had the great pleasure of interacting: Paulo Maia (Mário Paulo de Azevedo Maia) and Antônio Marques (Antônio Marques da Silva). These individuals developed the scientific program of another congress of the CMLP. With their peculiar brightness, these experts honored us with a contribution that was certainly the cutting-edge highlight of the event: their experience in organizing the healthcare system to face disaster situations.
At this time, in the context of the World Medical Association (WMA), I was already intensely involved with American and Japanese colleagues in drafting a document that would express the position of the WMA on this important issue. My brief meeting with Paulo and Antonio resulted in a solid friendship and in their visiting Sao Paulo along with other new friends to offer us the first course on the "Fundamentals of Disaster Response". The many rich conversations that followed the lessons of that course have greatly improved the quality of my thinking in discussions of the WMA and positively influenced the drafting of the final text of the Declaration of Montevideo. This declaration expresses the opinions of doctors from over 100 countries regarding preparations for facing disaster situations and the medical response to these types of circumstances.(1)
The opportunity to experience the events that I have describe in this brief text has been an utmost privilege. To live in Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, Luanda, Praia, Maputo, Sao Paulo and many other cities feeling at home. Most importantly, I have realized that being half Portuguese and half Brazilian makes me twice Brazilian and twice Portuguese. I am particularly delighted to write these lines in the journal that now celebrates the joined clinical and scientific thought of my specialty. The maturity now reached by the Luso-Brazilian critical care community requires this union, and we know that this challenge will be faced by individuals with no shortage of skills or enthusiasm.
The potential advantages of this association are countless. The proximity of researchers from our countries will certainly raise the technical level of our publications, providing them with greater visibility on a global scale. This interaction will stimulate multicenter studies, bringing new solutions to common problems and thereby contributing to the quality of care that we provide to our patients.
I hope to enjoy many more years of reading the numerous pages that will be published in this combined journal. Flavia, thank you!
Jose Luiz Gomes do Amaral
President of World Medical Association
1. Declaration of Montevideo on Disaster Preparedness and Medical Response [Internet]. [cited 2012 Jun 28]. Available form: http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/d3/ [ Links ]