Retirement Lesson of Professor José Fernandes e Fernandes
On 17 October, at the Grand Auditorium of the Egas Moniz Building of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, Professor Fernandes e Fernandes (MD, PhD, FACS, FRCS Eng.), Director of FMUL between 2005 and 2015, gave his retirement lesson before an audience filled with colleagues, students and prominent personalities of civil society, whom he singled out throughout his speech. Among them were Dr Maria de Belém, General Ramalho Eanes and Dr Manuela Ramalho Eanes, the Bishop of Lisbon, D. Tomás de Almeida and Father Feitor Pinto.
Professor Fausto Pinto, Director of the Faculty, opened the session by summarizing the value and importance of the contribution, merits and example of the one who was his predecessor in the position of Director of FMUL, as a physician and vascular surgeon, as an academic and as a citizen, in a speech guided by a tone of recognition, respect and admiration.
Professor Fernandes e Fernandes, a leading name in Vascular Surgery in Portugal and abroad, highlighted in his "Last Lesson" the main stages of a vast and multifaceted career, which included "Origin and Education", "Training in Vascular Surgery", "Activity in Surgery and Academic Intervention", "The Future of Vascular Surgery and Academic Medicine", "The Introduction to the Clinical Practice Subject", and "Managing the Faculty of Medicine".
The choice of the title of the Session was also interesting and was recorded in a book, distributed at the beginning to all those attending it: Serendipity? From Vascular Surgery to Academic Medicine: A Look at the Past ... and at the Future!
'Serendipity' is an English word for which there is no Portuguese translation in a single word, and which refers to a discovery that is made by chance, when it was not sought. The word, as explained by Professor Fernandes e Fernandes, was created in the 16th century by the English writer Horace Walpole.
As for "Origin and Education", Professor Fernandes e Fernandes referred to the example of honesty and character he received from his family, which largely coined his choice of life and destiny in favour of medicine.
In the second part, "Training in Vascular Surgery", the Professor mentioned the fascination he had always felt for this key area of medicine, the importance of his professors, especially João Cid dos Santos and his example of rigor in the exercise of the profession. Cid dos Santos saw Professor Fernandes and Fernandes as one of his disciples and it was he who signed the letter of recommendation for his stay at St. Mary's Hospital in London to work with H.H.G Eastcott, another major landmark in the Professor's career.
More than once throughout the session, there was room for a suggestive comparison between the work of the surgeon and that of the artist, namely the sculptor.
As for the academic intervention, Professor Fernandes e Fernandes summed up his medical education ideas, the challenges of medical education and the rigorous demands placed on young doctors, and addressed the essential reforms of medical education in our country.
The Professor finished his Retirement Lesson with references to his period as Director of the Faculty of Medicine (2005-2015). In the exercise of his position, Professor Fernandes e Fernandes promoted institutional collaboration within the CAML - Lisbon Medical Academic Centre, and at the same time he fostered the improvement of medical education.
As one of the great promoters of the merger between the former University of Lisbon ("Clássica") and the Technical University of Lisbon, which originated the current University of Lisbon, the largest in the country, he said "We need fewer and better universities that attract foreign researchers and students."
The last speech was short and given by the Rector of the University of Lisbon, Professor António Cruz Serra, and included a curious note, in fact an "apology" to the honouree for the delay in the completion of the Reynaldo dos Santos Building, a project that is so dear to Professor Fernandes e Fernandes.
At the end of the Session, there was a musical moment by FMUL students, who interpreted excerpts from works enjoyed by the Professor.
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