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On-line version ISSN 1806-4841
An. Bras. Dermatol. vol.77 no.6 Rio de Janeiro Nov./Dec. 2002
Rubem David Azulay
Chairman of the Institute of Dermatology, "Santa Casa da Misericórdia", Rio de Janeiro. Emeritus Professor of the "Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro" and "Universidade Federal Fluminense". Member of the National Academy of Medicine. Titular Professor at the "Universidade Gama Filho", "Fundação Técnico Educacional Souza Marques" and of "Cesanta"
April 23, 2002 should be considered a day of national mourning for Brazilian Medicine. It was on this day that one of the greatest Brazilian doctors - Prof. Dr. Carlos da Silva Lacaz - passed away. He was born in 1915, in Guaratinguetá, São Paulo State. His 87 years were well lived and intensely productive. His dignified wife, Dinah was always by his side, offering encouragement and support. The happiness of this illustrious couple was blessed by their children: Ana Helena Lacaz Martins, married to Prof. Dr. José Eduardo Costa Martins; Dr. Carlos Roberto Martins Lacaz, married to Mrs. Maria Aparecida Rodrigues; Carlos Augusto Martins Lacaz; and Carlos Eduardo Martins Lacaz, married to Mrs. Vilma Giraldi Lacaz. He also leaves his grandchildren Eduardo, Ricardo, Isabel, Fernando, Fábio, Beatriz, Eduardo and Nina, besides eight great-grandsons.
Medicine was his vocation. His entrance to the profession, in 1934, at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo, already demonstrated his worth - he was classified in first place. This ranking was maintained throughout all the years of the medical course. As a student he obtained the following prizes: Rockfeller (basic Chairs), La Royale (degree course) and Society of Forensic Medicine and Criminology (Chair of Forensic Medicine, 1940). He attained the presidency of the Scientific Department of the Academic Center Oswaldo Cruz, breathed new life to the Medical Journal of the Academic Center and published Practical Course of Physiology (1936) and Schematics of the Nervous System and their Interpretation (1936). He was honored with the Montenegro Award, for three consecutive years. This flair as a student indicated his future as a great doctor. So it was to be. He was a born professor. He initiated his academic career in 1953, after a brilliant exam, gaining distinction in all the tests; he became professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Faculty of Medicine. His professorial value was recognized by the students: four times patron speaker. His productivity lead the congregation to elect him director of the Faculty (1971-1978).
He founded the Institute of Tropical Medicine of São Paulo (1959) and its journal, which came to be undoubtedly the most prestigious magazine on tropical pathology in Latin America. The importance of this Institution is easily recognized by the fact that over 200 specialists in tropical medicine have graduated there. It is considered a Reference Center by the World Health Organization.
His greatest contribution was in the field of mycology and microbiology; which he taught with efficiency, preparing countless specialists who went on to lecture these subjects in various universities of Brazil and Latin America. Dr. Lacaz, in reality, besides an eminent researcher, was also a notable teacher, hence his nomination for Emeritus Professor of the University of São Paulo.
He was devoted intensely to the history of Medicine, founding the Historical Museum in the Faculty of Medicine of USP (1977), that today bears his name. He published a four-volume work entitled Celebrities of Brazilian Medicine (1963-1977).
Recognition of his medical greatness was demonstrated by numerous medical societies: National Academy of Medicine (titular member), Academy of Medicine del Institute de Chile (honorary member), Academie Royale des Sciences d'Outre-Mer (corresponding member), American Academy of Microbiology, International Society for Human and Animal Mycology, International Society for Chemotherapy, to name but a few. He was the current president of the Brazilian Society of the History of Medicine and also president of the Academy of Medicine of São Paulo, the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine and the Brazilian Society of Allergy and Immunopathology, and the Brazilian Society of the History of the Medicine, besides professor honoris causa of the Federal University of Ceará, the Univesidade Nacional del Nordeste (Argentina), the Federal University of Bahia and the Medical Association of Israel.
Publications: Prof. Lacaz published several hundreds of scientific works, amongst which we highlight: Medical Mycology, Introduction to Medical Geography in Brazil, Iatrogenic Diseases, Infections by Opportunist Agents, Antibiotics, Tropical Immunopathology, Allergy in Tropical Regions, The Great World of Fungi and Candidiasis.
Furthermore, in Brazil and abroad, he realized countless medical conferences, notable amongst many were several of his preferred themes: paracoccidioidomycosis, bronchopulmonary mycosis, humanization of medicine and tropical pathology.
In honor of his name, Taborda and collaborators created the designation Lacazia loboi as the agent of Jorge Lobos' disease.
It should be registered here the love that he dedicated to his family, for which I chose one of his eloquent affirmations on the subject: "I remind my children and grandchildren that only moral correctness, exact execution of ones' duties and kindness and principles of human solidarity should beacon our long crossing, without the mark of torments and tornadoes".
Finally, we wish to highlight his extreme kindness; he treated all, from the humblest to the wisest, with the same love and dedication. He never said no when something was requested within his area.
I will finish with his statement of both greatness and humility: "I struggled, I conquered and always kept faith in God, by whom I will be judged."
Received in October,
2nd of 2002.
Approved by the Editorial Council and accepted for publication in October, 4th of 2002.