Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima – Humanities and Ethics over Sciences and Tech

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Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

Authors: Dr. Bilal Zafar, Maria Rosa Ferreira, Inês Serra, Kashmala Khan

We see children going through multiple phases. In one moment, they decide to be a policeman and a few days later they know wholeheartedly they want to spend their life being an engineer. Months and years pass, the passions and professions change. Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima was different. This man of science subjects always knew what he wanted to become. The fascinating passion of becoming a doctor was in his core since the beginning. He does not remember how and when his mind grasped the idea of choosing medicine and living as a doctor, but he transformed the idea and passion into reality. Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima is living his dream.

I never imagined becoming anything else other than a doctor. I imagined myself only being a doctor. And I was right. This is the kind of work that fulfills me the most. – Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

The secret lies in maintaining youth

Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima, now retired at the age of 67, was the Specialist Doctor Doctorate in Nuclear Medicine, Director of Nuclear Medicine, Hospital Medical Director, President of Board of Directors of the College of Nuclear Medicine of the Portuguese Medical Association, President of the Ethics Committees of the Hospital and University Center of Coimbra (CHUC) and the faculty of Medicine of University of Coimbra (FMUC). He is also responsible for the noble initiative of “Project H2 – Humanize the Hospital” CHUC. Being a doctor with authority at hospital and university, he had a responsible but passionate approach towards work. Without passion, a doctor can’t deal with people, understand and help them.

The secret is to stay young all the time. – Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

67 years old and still young at mind, Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima calls maintaining youth the only way to replenish your passion every day for the medical profession. Age defines the experience and with the ultimate experience, you can still stay young. The body may not stay young after series of decades but as long as the heart and mind are young, a doctor continues working with equal passion and dedication. Being passionate is not a small virtue. When someone is passionate, they are happy and satisfied with themselves and their performance. Such people radiate their electrical passion when they speak. They speak with excitement and charm in their eyes. See how a person speaks about something, and you will know what they think and feel about that particular thing!

I still maintain passion. I can see the passion in people when they speak and when they interact with other people. I still feel young in my brain, but I am 67 years old. My body is not that young, I see. – Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

In4MED IX 2020 – Conference “To be or not to be a real doctor”

Gratitude in eyes of patient is a special winning moment

Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima highlights several moments of fulfillment. When doctors are engaged in serving humanity and the only aim is to provide relief to patients, every day becomes a day with a heightened sense of achievement and satisfaction. At the end of the day, the gratitude in eyes of a patient is everything that motivates and encourages a doctor to keep going. 

When I see in the eyes of a patient I see gratitude for everything I have done. That brings me real fulfillment and honor. Sometimes you don’t see it, just feel it. – Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

A personal moment of intense fulfilment

While sharing his professional moments of fulfillment, Dr. Joao Pedroso couldn’t resist sharing a personal moment of happiness.

For me, the most important moment was the moment when my first son, the first child was born. That feeling, I can never forget. Such a different feeling and so so intense. – Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

He fell short of words and emotions overcame the desire to express the meaning of the moment his first child was born. After years of bringing up, a father surely remembers the moment he holds his first child. The moment in itself is infinite. 

Putting everything in perspective in stressful situations

Being a Specialist Doctor Doctorate in Nuclear Medicine, Hospital Medical Director, President of Board of Directors of the College of Nuclear Medicine of the Portuguese Medical Association, President of the Ethics Committees of the Hospital and University Center of Coimbra (CHUC), and of the faculty of Medicine of University of Coimbra (FMUC) and founder of “Project H2 – Humanize the Hospital” CHUC, is a huge responsibility. Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima had several doctorship responsibilities under him. A part of his job was to meet people from different professional backgrounds. He maintained a minimum margin for mistakes and performed with the perspective of a role model. Being in a responsible position demands you to be responsible. Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima believed everything he did was an example for someone. Therefore, he managed stressful moments of his career wisely.

In very stressful moments, I would think of my matters not as bad as something happening in other parts of the world, with other people who are in very bad conditions and those conditions are not mine. So putting things in perspective helped me a lot. – Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

In4Med IX 2020 – audience of medical students

Calm and composed doctors make ideal role models

Moreover, Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima stresses being calm and composed during stressful conditions. These moments are a part of the medical profession. It is wise to learn the skill of being calm with meditation and mindfulness. This makes doctors good role models.

We are role models. If you, the medical students who work with doctors, don’t see them behaving like role models it is a disaster. You don’t get the right direction. – Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

Project H2 – Humanize the Hospital

Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima launched Project H2 – Humanize the Hospital in CHUC (Centro Hospitalar e Universitario de Coimbra). The motto of this project is ‘A challenge for all of us. A bet on each one of us.’ The letter ‘H’ in the project name indicates Hospital and Humanize. This project aims to highlight the importance of maintaining the attention of health professionals on each person (patient or colleague)that must be treated as a Person. During the Covid-19 restrictions, it is also focused on connecting quarantined patients with their families through video calls and text messages. Patients can see their family members over screens when they are inside isolation wards for days and weeks.

According to Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima, medical students and professionals improve their technical and scientific understandings and skills. That is not enough! In the medical profession, building humanities and ethics is equally important. A doctor’s relationship with a patient is pure and rich with compassion and empathy.

Therefore, Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima launched this project to take the doctor-patient relationship one step ahead and he quotes a senior physician (Abel Salazar):

A doctor who only knows about medicine does not know even about medicine. 

Logo “Project H2 – Humanize the Hospital”

Giving time to patient is core of doctor-patient relationship

When a doctor is dealing with a patient, he is under immense responsibility. Whatever he does next decides the health status of his patient. I suggest the upcoming doctors: 

Always think that the patient, who is in front of you, could be your father, your mother, your grandfather, grandmother or your son and daughter. – Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima

If this stays in the mind of all doctors their way of dealing with patients, compassion and empathy would be totally different. Patients look up to their doctors to know what is wrong with them. There is no second chance. Dr. Joao Pedroso de Lima encourages doctors to take enough time to listen to patients. Listen to whatever they say and then proceed towards diagnosis. According to a published article, doctors interrupt patients, on average, just 18 seconds after the start of the medical interview! They do not allow patients to speak! Doctors need time to listen, understand and process the information. It depends on the doctor how they utilize the time with their patient. He mentions William Osler, an incredible physician from the 19th century:

Listen to your patient. He is telling you the diagnosis.

The interview was made as a joint project of MEDizzy and in4Med Conference.

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