On the 5th of June of 1920 in the city of São Paulo has occurred the decease of Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho, one of the most recognized Brazilian physicians. Born in Campinas on the 5th of January of 1867, Arnaldo was the son of Carolina Xavier de Carvalho and Joaquim José Vieira de Carvalho, a lawyer by the Law School of São Paulo, being, as of 1881, a professor of Political Economics at this same institution. Besides, Joaquim was a County Judge in Campinas, a county deputy by the Conservative Union, vice-president of the County of São Paulo during the government of Francisco Antonio Dutra Gonçalves. With the Republic, he was state deputy and senator.
Arnaldo felt the influence of his last name in his return to São Paulo, after his graduation, in 1888, by the Medical School of Rio de Janeiro given the positions from which he was designated: from 1888 to 1889, he has assistant volunteer in the Holy House of Mercy of São Paulo and the doctor responsible for the Immigrant Guesthouse, from which he resigned in 1889. In this same year, he was associate doctor, surgeon, and clinical vice-director of the Holy House of Mercy of São Paulo. From 1893 to 1913, we was director of the Vaccinogenic Institute; in 1894, he was named head of the clinic and director of the Holy House Hospital and, from 1895 to 1920, founder and partner of the Society of Medicine and Surgery of São Paulo.
Writing articles for the press under the penname of Epicarnus, he entered several polemics on the paths of the city, the state, and the country, regarding the issues of health and medical organization. He saw the capital of São Paulo as a place of aggregation for his corporation, but deeply disorganized and with serious social problems – he considered medicine to be able to intervene and solve this impasse, by also forming his own professionals.
With this in view, Arnaldo leaded the demands of the members of the Society of Medicine and Surgery of São Paulo for the fulfillment of a law passed in 1891 which predicted the creation of a public medical school in São Paulo. After an intense articulation between the medical corporation and the state administration, the then president of the State of São Paulo, Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alves, signed the Law nº 1357, of the 19th of December of 1912, which implemented the Medical and Surgical School of Medicine of São Paulo. Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho was named Director of the institution, being responsible for the choice of names to form the faculty members. In his struggle to make of the medical school an acknowledged space of scientific development, Arnaldo articulated an ambitious partnership with the Rockerfeller Foundation, which was seeking scientific bases in Latin America to centralize an institutional vision from the United States. Such alliance was birthed in 1916, with the request by the directors’ board of the medical school for the Foundation to support the establishment of two disciplines – hygiene and pathology -, with the works initiated in 1918.
The North Americans made the proposed terms justifying their decision of the approximation between Brazil and the United States after the I World War, based on the intellectual and scientific base the State of São Paulo already had, besides the fact it was a new school, without addictions or traditions to impair the plans of the Foundation. Such partnership unfolded in the creation of new departments, the formation of Brazilian students in North American universities and institutions, and the founding of the sumptuous structure on the headquarters building of the School, at the top of Araçá. The hospital-school construction of the Medical School would be under the responsibility of the government of São Paulo. Therefore, the Hospital das Clínicas would be inaugurated, a bit forward, in 1944.
It is worth remembering the medical action of Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho, when he established frontlines, based mainly by the influence of European medicine, for the combat of some endemics and pandemics in the territory of São Paulo. When he directed the Vaccinogenic Institute, he collaborated with the expansion of the productions of supplies needed to combat smallpox, a disease responsible for a great number of deaths at the time. Among the actions developed in the small period in which he was ahead of the Immigrant Guesthouse Hospital, its highlighted the redistribution of patients in new wings and the organization of the morgue in the premises to stop the transmission of the yellow fever which spread with great velocity among the immigrants who arrived there. Besides, Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho was one of the central characters in the fight against the Spanish flu pandemic, in 1918. On that occasion, he supervised the construction of campaign hospitals, organized about a thousand beds in the Holy House of Mercy, an institution of which he was clinical director, for the treatment of individuals infected by the flu and mobilized professors and students of the Medical School to coordinate and act at the posts of medical care spread through the city. The School also gave in laboratories and researchers who have dedicated themselves to researches to better understand the effects of the flu and seek more effective forms of treatment and the Legal Medicine board of professors, on its turn, held several necropsies and launched studies in the attempt to contribute to elucidate the acting mechanisms of the disease in the respiratory system.
Arnaldo de Vieira de Carvalho passed away on the 5th of June of 1920, with 53 years old, due to a contamination suffered in a surgery held at the Holy House of Mercy of São Paulo. His death followed a series of grief manifestations, it was accompanied by the medical and journalistic press. The mayor of São Paulo, Firmiano Pinto, sent a flower crown as an honor from the city, followed by Arnaldo Aguiar, vice-president in exercise of the Municipal Chamber of Santos. The Federal Chamber emitted a grief note over the passing of Arnaldo, and the Society of Medicine and Surgery held a grief period of 8 days, closing the national headquarters. The schools of Medicine of Bahia and Rio de Janeiro have designated representatives to honor their deceased colleague. The School of medicine and Surgery of São Paulo would grief for 8 days, suspending every work, naming a commission to present their condolences to the Vieira Carvalho family.
When the new headquarters of the Medical School opened their doors in 1931, it was inaugurated a bronze bust of its founder in front of the main pavilion of the building, which contributes to the building to be recognized, throughout the years, as “the House of Arnaldo”. In the same year, the Municipal Avenue, the place in which the School was settled, began to be called Avenue Dr. Arnaldo, which became one of the most crowded avenues of the capital of São Paulo. Thus, by completing the centenary of his passing, the memory of Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho is remembered through the institutions in which he acted and in which, to this day, play a role of relevance in teaching, research and medical assistance in São Paulo.
Commission of the honors to the centenary of death of Arnaldo Vieira de Carvalho.
Director’s Board of the Medical School of the Universidade de São Paulo / Commission for Culture and University Extension – FMUSP / Historical Museum “Prof. Carlos da Silva Lacaz” – FMUSP / Museum of the Nuclear Medicine Center Prof. Alípio Luiz Dias Neto // Association of Former Students of FMUSP / Association of Emeritus Professors of FMUSP / Technical and Scientific Center of Humanization of HC-FMUSP / Foundation Faculty of Medicine / Academic Center Oswaldo Cruz – FMUSP / Combat League against Syphilis and other STDs / The Scalpel Journal / Combat League against Rheumatic Fever / Medicine Journal / Advisory Office of Communication - FMUSP