Roberto Iermoli He is a full professor of the fourth chair of internal medicine at the UBA at the Hospital de Clínicas. But it is not just another chair. It mixes music, culture, cuisine and other activities in an attempt to humanize the doctor-patient relationship. “A humanistic culture is shown to have a more humanistic attention.”
The doctor is proud to be part of what happens in the Hospital de Clínicas for 22 years. In his office on the 11th floor of the hospital where he remembers that “123 years ago Luis Agote developed the first blood transfusion for the whole world in 1914” Iermoli thought one day that the way of doing traditional medicine was not enough for face-to-face with patients.
As director of teaching and research, he conducted examinations for residents. One day they decided to add a survey of general culture in addition to technical science. The result the doctor describes as “alarming”. What diploma am I giving, I am responsible for this, he thought.
That “Weight” that began to feel was the first step to the fourth chair, which was imposed almost 22 years ago. “Medicine, from humanism, to science and art.” Undoubtedly, this innovative vision on the way of practicing the profession makes it one of the most sought after chairs by residents.
Iermoli speaks of two “vision” when it comes to practicing medicine. The first is the biomedicineto. When you go to the doctor, for example, for a headache, they ask you the necessary questions and tests “Almost without looking at his face” and then retires.
The Another vision, the one that promoted this initiative, is the psychosocial one: which somehow means a comprehensive look at the patient.
“The psychosocial vision of the patient – explains Iermoli- It is everything that happens to us and that in the face of a simple headache of a patient covers issues ranging from work stress, how his family is made up, where he lives, what his income is, what activities he does”.
“It is common to hear that a patient is treated by a professional who did not even look at his face and dispatched him in five minutes. But, When we observe that an empathic relationship was established during the consultation, the patient comes out with the feeling of saying ‘I feel better now’”, Reflects Iermoli.
For Iermoli, in short, it is only a matter of “going back to Bases”. “What we are looking for is to focus on the human. Attend how we would like to be treated ”.
The rhythm of the chair accompanies the dizzying life of the residents. But it is somehow a balm among so much technical-scientific knowledge that students acquire during the long medical career. Describes it as “A continuous but enriching work”.
The organization chart of the chair includes “special” units among which art and culture, polyphenols, clinical therapy, emotional restraint, sport, among others stand out.
“Since 1918 with the university reform there is academic freedom. We offer the program with all the contents but we change the strategies. Why do I always have to do the same and why don’t I go further? Why not give those who are trained the possibility of a comprehensive training and that they become vectors of these changes? “. In this way Iermoli says, as a joke, over time “small branches” of this formation are being set up.
What’s more, anthropologists, visual artists, philosophers, journalists, artists and a long list of professions participate in cultural athenaeums that come to give that added value to medicine, creating a different environment for students.
“It is not a fashion”, Iermoli repeats throughout the talk. And it is that from alternative therapies, such as reflexology, music therapy, yoga, therapeutic painting and painting, they were observing how they improve the response to treatments, the quality of life of patients and their families and the doctors who treat them.
Care of pandemic patients and therapeutic activities
“It is important not to miss a minute of training.” During the pandemic, the fourth chair remained active and looked for a way to reinvent itself in a virtual way. With zoom classes and virtual athenaeums. In addition, it was made a lot of focus on emotional support, “A leg that we lacked for the sick, who live with great anguish the situation in which they are; many alone because they come from another province, older adults who do not receive visitors “
The meetings include recycling workshops, music therapy, mindfulness, reflexology, therapeutic painting, reading and they even teach how to learn to taste wines. “If one speaks of humane treatment, the patient has to receive it on a daily basis.”
In addition, with different professionals, they organize activities for patients ranging from music to cooking “everything personalized”.
It’s not just about playing background music. But it includes the presence of artists in the rooms. Singers recognized as Vicentico were part of this initiative. Like musicians from public conservatories, they have come forward to play the flute for patients and their families.
Although cultural activities were interrupted on March 20, 2020 with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and the provision of mandatory quarantine, they have managed to establish virtual meetings. Like breathing workshops for stress and anxiety management, so common in these times.
“In our chair, the most important chefs of Buenos Aires, such as Narda Lepes, have come to cook for the patients, and they have served it on tablecloths designed by Jéssica Trosman for example ”. In general, patients who one day arrived in Iermoli and who returned for their warmth to transmit to others what the doctor did with them. Sort of a “favor chain”.
To close the note, Iermoli confesses that three things marked him in his life that led him to embark on his path: First, the Socratic thought that invites “before a question try to find the best answer”; second, the law of parsimony and how “things are simpler than they sometimes appear“; and finally, Confucius:“They told me about it and I understood it, I did it and I learned it ”.
“The core should not just be medical. But the look that the ancient Greeks had, who took into account the environment, health, the importance of music. Definitely, just go back to basics.
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