The pediatrician Florencio Escardó, the importance of the soup and room 17 where the boys healed faster

He put into practice in his profession as a pediatrician methods and systems, many of which were resisted by more veteran doctors.

He repeated it ad nauseam. She cost him because it was a very long fight of more than thirty years. He managed that in Room 17 of the Dr. Ricardo Gutiérrez Children’s Hospital mothers could accompany their children. She had to face resistance from older doctors, even from nurses and assistants who wanted nothing to do with the presence of women. They would only get in the way. To young man Florencio Escardóthen a 22-year-old doctor, broke his heart the first time he entered the room. He remembered a row of fifteen beds to his left and another to his right, all filled with bedridden creatures. Some hardly moved, others cried intermittently, and many struggled to put their mouths into a nipple connected to a bottle, which hung from a wire bra above the bed. no one paid attention to them.

“How can someone learn pediatrics if the mother is not next to her?”, he wondered. She misled her students in oral exams by asking them how to cook a soup. For him, it was impossible for the doctor to approach the mother if he did not know how to do it. He was a doctor who departed from the canons of the time, noted for applying care practices that were not traditional for the times in which they lived.

Thanks to the fact that the mothers were able to be with their children, the period of hospitalization of the children fell from 25 to 5 days. The reaction was expected and chaotic: all the mothers wanted their children to be interned in Room 17 and not in the others where their entry was only allowed from 5 to 7 p.m., when visitors were allowed to enter. The oldest doctors blamed him for turning the place into a pilgrimage, although they could never refute his arguments. He was convinced that understanding was one of the ways to heal.

It is difficult to tell the life of this professional who wore suits that were not always fashionable and who wore his inevitable bow tie. It has many facets, all rich, interesting and, according to him, they complement each other. There is a risk that if something is left out of the enumeration, an injustice would be done. He was born in Mendoza on August 13, 1904. His father Florencio Escardó Anaya he was a customs broker, his mother’s name was Telesfora Taborda Giralt and he decided to be a doctor just like his grandfather had been, who had worked as a surgeon.

  In the mythical Room 17 of the Dr. Ricardo Gutiérrez Children's Hospital, Escardó showed that there was a before and after in pediatrics.  (Photo D&N)
In the mythical Room 17 of the Dr. Ricardo Gutiérrez Children’s Hospital, Escardó showed that there was a before and after in pediatrics. (Photo D&N)

Thistle He was much more than a doctor. He was a journalist, writer, teacher. He said that if he had not been a humanist, he could not have practiced the profession of doctor, which he defined as “very sad”. He said that the doctor should be humble in his knowledge and proud of his mission.

At the age of four, he came with his parents to Buenos Aires. He completed his secondary studies at the National College of Buenos Aires and on June 20, 1929 he received his medical degree at the University of Buenos Aires and had the honor of having his title signed by the rector. Ricardo Rojas. His thesis was on celiac disease. He defined himself as a sort of community scholarship holder, since the latter had paid for all his studies with their taxes.. In 1942 he won the adjunct professorship in Pediatrics.

In the mid-1950s there was a vigorous cultural movement led by middle sectors. The University of Buenos Aires, magazines, weeklies, and a growing community of psychoanalyses were areas where a new public emerged that appropriated the guidelines of modernity. A fundamental piece in this movement dealt with the family that, until the 1960s, did not deviate from the model of father-mother-children; marriage and division of roles. This model was put on the bench by psychologists and pediatricians. One of them was Dr. Florencio Escardó.

He has more than 20 published books on medicine, not counting poetry and short stories.  (Photo Facebook Florencio Escardó)
He has more than 20 published books on medicine, not counting poetry and short stories. (Photo Facebook Florencio Escardó)

It was oriented to the psycho-emotional and social issues of pediatrics. “Her Majesty of her, the Child”, as she called him, had to be heard. He was head of Ward 17 of the Gutiérrez Children’s Hospital from September 25, 1957 until his retirement in 1969. He first worked as an interim and then competed for the position and won it.

When he graduated as a doctor, he made a training trip in France and Italy and in 1934 he entered the Children’s Hospital. That same year he began as a teacher and resigned his positions in 1946.

To perfect himself, he studied sociology for two years.

In the famous room, he installed the psychology pavilion and a therapy room for groups. He was the first to introduce psychologists because he defined the baby as a biological and social being. In the 1960s, the service had 30 psychologists. At that time he would meet one of his wives, Eva Giberti. He also founded a School for Parents at the hospital, where his students did internships at the hospital and in places like Isla Maciel. He set up the first Pediatric Bacteriology laboratory and created the Clinical Psychology residency. He became director of the Gutiérrez Hospital.

In the twenty books he wrote about his specialty, he insisted that the person had to be fully reviewed and that only one professional should be consulted. He argued that he who had two doctors had half a doctor and he who had three had none.

At the Faculty of Medicine, where he had started as an assistant in the chair of Pediatrics, he became a tenured professor. In 1958 he was elected dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the UBA and vice-rector, a position he held since December 30, 1957. Also in the university sphere, he kicked the table. He arranged for the National de Buenos Aires and Carlos Pellegrini pre-university schools to be mixed, a measure that in 1961 scandalized more than one. He must have worked hard to impose the measure.

When he gave his last class in the Medicine lecture hall, he received a very long standing ovation that moved him and thanked him. In 1976 he was dismissed from all his positions.

He was a prolific author of scientific and popular books on medicine and pediatrics, which included the edition of a Children’s Gastronomic Encyclopedia, and ventured into various topics. admirer of Eduardo Wilde y Joseph Engineershas edited books of poetry, stories and the script of the film the empty cradlewhich tells the story of the doctor Ricardo Gutierrez. He’s in love with the voice of Carlos Gardelhe also wrote the lyrics for two tangos, the city i knew y In which corner do I find you Buenos Aires?”

He was the promoter of the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires and Carlos Pellegrini, dependent on the UBA, being mixed.  It was another of the hard fights that he had to face.
He was the promoter of the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires and Carlos Pellegrini, dependent on the UBA, being mixed. It was another of the hard fights that he had to face.

He left testimonies of his unmistakable pen in innumerable media such as El Mundo, Crítica, Clarín, La Nación and various magazines. He began by signing under the pseudonym “John of Garay” and at the suggestion of the writer Nalé Roxloadopted the “Macramé Tweeter”, which became a classic. He was president of the Argentine Society of Writers and a member of the Academia Porteña del Lunfardo. With the appearance of television, his appearances on programs were always a success, such as the cycle “Re-live”.

He died on August 31, 1992. Looking at his life, it is clear that he was much more than he was. “I am a solitary thinker, poet, writer, journalist, activities that mean the exercise of the person.”

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