brito, óscar spínola de

As a paediatrician, he finished his superior studies in Coimbra an in Lisbon. He always performed his professional duties in Madeira, where he was the municipal physician and forensic expert, also taking care of his patients in Preventório Santa Isabel, in the Cecília Zino Foundation and in Caixa de Previdência. As a good communicator, he had considerable social participation. He was awarded with the Commendation of the Order of Merit, and had a health centre named after him.

Keywords: paediatrics; medical services; Commendation of the Order of Merit.

He was born in August 21, 1909 in the parish of Sé in Funchal. He is the son of Manuel Alexandre De Brito and Amélia da Conceição. In July 1941, he married Cecília Maria Lucas Rodrigues Spínola de Brito, having two children: Maria Manuela Rodrigues Spínola de Brito and Teófilo Manuel Rodrigues Spínola de Brito.

He completed his secondary education in the then Liceu Jaime Moniz in Funchal. At the end of his studies, he joined the school of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, later changing to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, where he graduated in November 15, 1935. He specialized in pediatrics and in sanitary medicine. He exerted his entire medical career in Madeira, having performed multiple functions. In 1940, he was nominated municipal doctor of the Council of Funchal, having thereafter directed the pediatrics office at the municipal health service. He was also appointed medical expert in the Judiciary Tribunal of the District of Funchal from 1958 to 1965, was pediatrician of the former Pension Fund of the Autonomous District of Funchal since its inception in 1945, directed the office of childhood tuberculosis at the Dispensary of the National Institute of Tuberculosis Assistance, was pediatrician at the Preventório Santa Isabel, clinical director of the Pediatric Hospital of the Cecília Zino Foundation, and integrated the clinical staff of different Madeiran institutions, actively collaborating in maternal and child protection programs in Madeira, and with the Center of Special Education.

He developed, in addition to his professional performance as pediatrician, a considerable and much appreciated civic intervention in Madeiran society, manifest, among others, in regional social media. Distinguishing himself by the clear content and coverage of his interventions, Dr. Óscar Spínola de Brito not only demonstrated a pedagogic sense in the practice of medicine, he also distinguished as a knower and social man given the amplitude of his interests and culture.

As a form of public recognition for his dedication and professional merit, the Autonomous Region of Madeira (RAM in Portuguese) inaugurated in December 13, 1985, the Health Center Dr. Óscar Spínola de Brito, which has offered, throughout its existence, a service of reference in the area of family health. In 1995, Dr. Óscar Spíndola de Brito was awarded the title of Commander of the Order of Merit by the President of the Republic, witnessing thus his action become an example, in particular for the RAM, but in general for Portugal.

He died in February 23, 1999.

Bibliog.: CLODE, Luiz Peter, Registo Bio-bliográfico de Madeirenses, sécs. XIX e XX, Funchal, Caixa Económica do Funchal, 1983; PERDIGÃO, Carlos, “Centro de Saúde Dr. Óscar de Brito, 10 anos de medicina familiar”, Islenha médica, n.º 1, julho-setembro de 1995, pp. 18-20. Note: I thank the contribution generously provided by Dr. Teófilo de Brito, son of Dr. Óscar Spínola de Brito, and by Manuela Silva Barreto that, with their information and testimonies, enriched this text.

Carla Ferreira

(updated 08.06.2016)