Caballero, a gentleman saving lives

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Dr. Armando Caballero Lopez, is 72 years old, but, he seems to be 20. In these days of intense work he seems to be worried, and for a good reason. He bears much of the responsibility for what happens in the province’s intensive care units, where the lives of people who get COVID-19 are defined.

When it comes to making a decision, which could be of great importance in the future and the evolution of the patients admitted there, everyone wants to have the criteria of Professor Gentleman, as his colleagues affectionately call him. Besides giving them peace of mind, this denotes confidence in one of the main authorities of intensive care in Cuba, Dr. Caballero.

Although for logical reasons of age, attempts have been made to preserve him, not risking him inside the intensive care rooms every day, at two o’clock in the afternoon, the experienced specialist heads a video conference at the Commander Manuel Piti Fajardo military hospital in Santa Clara, with the participation of the intensivists who are on the front line of danger, so that, among all of them, they can discuss the indicated procedure with the serious and critical cases admitted there.

Although he does not say it out of modesty, it is evident how everyone wants to listen to his wise advice and indications on the conduct to follow. “Not only do I contribute, but I also learn a great deal from the young people who are at the forefront of this battle, to whom I try to teach what I know, and to instill in them, moreover, the love that this profession brings”, the Knight Doctor humbly expresses.

“Given the magnitude of the pandemic, it has been necessary to train, on the fly, doctors who are studying the specialty and other branches, in order to take on the challenge, taking into account that cycles of work and rest have been established, in addition to a period of isolation for those who work in these areas,” explains Caballero López, who assumes the role of lead expert in the preparation of these people.

“This is a disease we are facing for the first time, so it is vital to take into account our vast experience in treating other viruses, as well as those from other nations,” says the head of Intensive Care Services at the Arnaldo Milián Castro Hospital in Villa Clara.

These have been days and days of intense struggle for Armando Caballero and the intensivists of the territory, among whom are his two sons, Jorge and Armando, who decided to follow their father’s path. To them, and to the rest of the people who fight for life in the intensive care units, the 2011 National Health Award recommends: “To be deeply human, because they will be linked to the seriously ill and to death. They must possess technical qualities, such as knowledge of the clinic, pharmacology and resuscitation methods, among others. In addition, they should always be willing to collaborate, without complexes, with specialists from various branches of medicine, who can also cooperate in the treatment of the seriously ill patient”.

And when I ask him about his reaction to a patient’s death, he looks up at the roof of his home, meditates for several seconds and answers: “The intensivist is the doctor who has the most patients dying, but you never get used to it. You train yourself to fight for life, which is what we are doing right now in Cuba. That is why I am also very happy when we manage to save a sick person. That day I am the happiest person in the world.

(Taken from Granma)

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