The Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED) continues with the series dedicated to the most notable academicians of its centenary history and in this 17th installment stops at the presidents it has had since its founding in the early 20th century . The first one was Álvaro Esquerdo Esquerdo (1853-1921), first dean-president of the original Association of Registered Doctors of Catalonia. Another of the great figures of science and thought that have been part of the RAED and that the current Government Board wants to thank, acknowledge and claim, in the conviction that those who have no memory, have no future. The selection of these selected academicians, from all fields of knowledge, is the result of research carried out for the publication of the “Book of the Centenary” of the Royal Academy, published three years ago. Personalities that transcend their historical context to appear today as referents of knowledge.
Born in Vila-Joiosa (Alicante), he moved to Barcelona to study Medicine at the behest of his brother Pedro, who had also attended the same degree. He graduated and received a doctorate from the University of Barcelona with the extraordinary prize that was awarded to the best students and began his medical career as an added doctor at the Hospital of Holy Cross and Saint Paul in Barcelona. It was there that he founded the Gynecology service and performed the first ovariotomy. From 1886 he became a surgeon with Salvador Cardenal, pioneer of surgical renewal in Catalonia, and successfully performed the first laparotomies in Spain.
His passion for research led him to promote and preside over the Academy of Medical Sciences and Laboratory and his prestige meant that he was soon appointed member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Barcelona. He founded the “Revista de Medicina y Cirugía” (Journal of Medicine and Surgery) to disseminate the latest scientific and technical advances, and expanded his vision to constitute the Association of Registered Doctors of Catalonia, from the beginning of a marked transversal and multidisciplinary nature, to become its first president. In 1944, the Governing Board of the institution recalled the figure of Esquerdo: “30 years have passed since doctors gathered around the ill-fated and prestigious teacher Álvaro Esquerdo, who founded and promoted, with the greatest success, the Association of Doctors of the University District of Barcelona, which served so that the remaining Doctoral Associations of Spain could be founded “.
Esquerdo was the benchmark of an outstanding generation of doctors led by Manuel Corachán that marked the beginning of Spanish medicine of the 20th century and was cut short by the Spanish Civil War. He died suddenly at age 68, when he was still fully active, due to angina pectoris.