Christovão José dos Santos

The son of José Joaquim dos Santos and Gertrudes Maria do Nascimento, Christovão José dos Santos was born on December 23, 1790, in the former city of Desterro, now Florianópolis, in the State of Santa Catarina. 

He graduated in medicine in 1816 from the Rio de Janeiro Academy of Medicine and Surgery (current Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ) and was appointed on November 20, 1829, by Emperor Dom Pedro I, to serve as the first Surgeon of the Hospital Militar da Guarnição da Corte (Royal Military Hospital) in Rio de Janeiro.

Some of Dr. dos Santos’ accolades and achievements include the title of Full Member and Founder of the Medical Society of Rio de Janeiro, later renamed the Imperial Academy of Medicine, and currently, the Academia Nacional de Medicina (National Academy of Medicine – ANM). His inauguration ceremony took place on June 30, 1829, and he is deemed one of the Founding Members of the institution. Moreover, the physician chaired the organization in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 1830. 

Additionally, in 1830, Dr. dos Santos participated, alongside fellow Academy Members José Martins da Cruz Jobim and Joaquim José da Silva, of the Comissão de Salubridade Geral (General Health Commission) of the Medical Society of Rio de Janeiro, brought attention to numerous health care-related issues. They exposed mistreatment, lack of proper physical and moral treatment, absence of specialized health care providers and nurses, and above all, subpar sanitary conditions that institutionalized mentally ill patients were submitted to at Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Casa da Misericórdia wards. 

These findings led them to call for the establishment of a project that would provide adequate care to mentally ill patients, in addition to building a psychiatric hospital in the city of Rio de Janeiro.  

Dr. Christovão José dos Santos passed away on October 21, 1868.

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