The Board of Directors of the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP), on August 25th, 2020, informs the death of Prof. Flávio Adolfo Costa Vaz and sents deepest condolences to his family. The following is the history of the academic life of Prof. Flávio at the Department of Pediatrics at FMUSP.
Prof. Flávio Adolfo Costa Vaz was born on January 31th, 1938 in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. At the age of 16, he came to live in a São Paulo city, where he studied at the Colégio Estadual Roosevelt of Parque Dom Pedro. There he attended the 3rd year of high school after having held a contest in which he passed in 1st place. On this occasion, as he needed to work during the day, he got a place in the night course at the Colégio Estadual Dr. Octavio Mendes, where he finished high school with the highest grade of the class.
He was always very hard-working, was aiming for new jobs. He was a representative of laboratory, banking and gave private lessons to junior high and high school students.
He took the FMUSP entrance exam and passed in 39th place. During the medical course, at the invitation of Dr Rodolpho Cutolo, he taught the practical course of chemistry, which was a success. The invitation was then extended to theoretical chemistry classes, which lasted until the 2nd year of medical residency. Still, during the 2nd year of the medical course, always with great dedication, Prof. Flávio was monitor of Parasitology with Prof. Dácio do Amaral.
From the 2nd to the 5th year of the medicine, during all his free time, including at night, he attended the Pediatric Emergency Room, where he had the teachings of the Drs Assistants Samuel Schvartsman, Gabriel Ruiz, Sergio Lebeis, among others. This opportunity gave him great practical knowledge of emergency conditions.
However, it was in the 5th year, on the occasion of the 1st practical class in the Nursery with Dr Hedda Penna, who decided to dedicate herself to Neonatology. At this time, he had the invaluable help of Dr Hélcio Bahia Corradini, who accompanied him as an assistant and then as a colleague and friend until his retirement.
He attended medical residency in Pediatrics and at the end of the 2nd year, he applied for the Neonatology Assistant. He won the vacancy, which was in the Emergency Room, complementing the Nursery schedule.
During the internship and residency, he met Prof. José Lauro Araújo Ramos, who with his deep knowledge of Pediatrics and Neonatology, completed his fascination with the emerging specialty.
Also during his residency he had contact with the “Berçário de Externo” (for babies born outside the Maternity Nursey of the Hospital das Clínicas of FMUSP, in addition to receiving cases of neonatal tetanus). This unit developed by Dr José de Araújo, and initially headed by Prof. Antranik Manissadjian, where he learned a lot from the treatment of these children.
At the time (1970), there were two innovations that contributed to a milestone: the care of the newborn in the delivery room by the pediatrician and the performance of blood transfusion for the jaundiced newborns with maternal-fetal blood incompatibility by resident doctors and pediatricians.
During his participation in the Nursery, Prof. Flávio began to be interested in the premature infants and the hematological problems of these children. He sought then assistance in Hematology, where he obtained the contribution of Dr Vitorio Maspes, and Dr Fernando Teixeira Mendes. With them, he began research on Anemia of Prematurity which, later, given the unprecedented character, was the material of his doctoral thesis, in 1971. Prof. Flávio obtained grade 10 distinction from his examining board, chaired by Prof. Eduardo Marcondes with considerations of Prof. Antranik Manissadjian.
From then on, his enthusiasm and his immense creativity for research were fundamental for the growth of Neonatology and Neonatal Hematology. In addition to writing and publishing articles in national and international journals, Prof. Flávio edited the first Brazilian book on Neonatal Hematology.
After about three years of his PhD, he was invited to become a teacher by Prof. Antranik Manissadjian, in view of the opportunities for greater performance in the teaching of Neonatology and in the Graduate Program at the FMUSP. He created two disciplines that were very important and generated numerous publications and theses: The Discipline of Prematurity in the Graduate Course of the Department of Pediatrics and that of Pediatric Hematology in the Graduate Course of the Department of Clinical Medicine. He also worked on the introduction of procedures such as oro and nasotracheal intubation and exsanguine transfusion by resident doctors, mandatory care of the newborn in the delivery room, including the introduction of the resuscitation cart, in addition to national and international publications.
So, in December 1975, he applied for a job position as “Livre-Docente” Professor, by recommendation, once again by Prof. Antranik Manissadjian. He defended his thesis with great wisdom and brilliance, being the first “Livre-Docente” Professor of Neonatal Pediatrics in Brazil. This is a legacy that Prof. Flávio leaves to his School, the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo.
Then, he was selected to be Adjuction Professor and Associate Professor of the Department of Pediatrics of the FMUSP.
In 1998, he did exams and became a Titular Professor of Pediatrics (set of Pediatric Disciplines) at the Department of Pediatrics of the FMUSP. In his intense career at the Hospital das Clínicas, Prof. Flávio was Assistant at the Maternity Annex Nursery, Head of the External Nursery, Chief of Duty of the Pediatric Emergency Room, Director of the Service and, finally, Technical Director of the Division of the Hospital das Clínicas of FMUSP.
He also held the position of Director of the Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Institute of Children and Adolescent of the Hospital das Clínicas of FMUSP. At the Hospital das Clínicas, in partnership with Prof. Yassuhiko Okay, his classmate, developed Pediatrics Clinic and Neonatal Pediatrics. At Hospital Estadual de Sapopemba, also with Prof. Yassuhiko Okay, he organized Clinical and Neonatal Pediatrics, including Emergency and Neonatal Pediatric ICU.
In his tireless struggle and great dedication to Medicine, he contributed with the Postgraduation of FMUSP, developing three courses, two in the Pediatric area and one in the area of Pediatric Hematology in Clinical Medicine. He was advisor to several Masters and Doctoral students.
Throughout his intense professional life, Prof. Flávio taught classes, seminars, round tables, lectures and conferences in graduate courses, in national and international medical congresses with great brilliance. He has participated in numerous boards of examiners of Masters, Doctorate, "Livre-Docente" Professors and Titular Professors, both as a member and as president.
He has published more than 200 articles in international journals and others in national journals, as first author or as last author. He published 20 books.
He was Head of the Department of Pediatrics for seven years, President of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Children and Adolescent, Member of the Deliberative Council of the Hospital das Clínicas of FMUSP and Member of the Ethics Committee of this Hospital.
Prof. Flávio also worked, between 1970 and 1975, in the Santa Casa de Misericórdia de São Paulo, in his Faculty as Assistant Professor and in the Nursery, with Prof. Berta Luz, Prof. Abraham Berezin and Prof. Luiz Vicente R.F. da Silva.
As activities outside of the hospital environment, he was President of the Research Ethics Committee of the Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública (CEPENSP), Scientific Director of the Brazilian edition of Pediatrics, Secretary of the Pediatrics Department of APM and Founding Partner and 2nd Secretary of the Society of Pediatrics at São Paulo.
Prof. Flavio Adolfo Costa Vaz left an immense legacy of disciples who accompanied him in his continuous teachings both theoretical and practical in Neonatology, having formed and guided numerous Masters, Doctors and Free Professors of the Department of Pediatrics at FMUSP.