João Alvares Carneiro

João Alvares Carneiro was born on October 18, 1776, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, to André Carneiro and D. Anny Lyonisia de Santa Roza. He was baptized at the São José Parish in the city. 

After becoming an orphan, Alvares Carneiro was educated in charity institutions and completed part of the medicine program offered by the Rio de Janeiro Hospital, which enabled him to obtain a then-issued certificate to work as a head physician at any organization. Despite not having finished the program, he proved himself to be such a skillful and self-assured professional that word quickly spread around town about his capabilities, earning him quite the reputation.  

In 1796, the young physician moved to Portugal with the goal of carrying out further studies in medicine. He graduated in medicine from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, that very year, but shortly after, was taken hostage by Frenchmen and Algerians while traveling. However, thanks to an old friend and fellow Brazilian who offered him the chance to study in Lisbon, Alvares Carneiro managed to escape to the city of Porto, also in Portugal. 

He then proceeded to go on numerous scientific trips to explore several ports throughout Asia, later returning to Rio de Janeiro, where he served as a brilliant doctor in several institutions and clinics and became Brazil’s most prominent physician. He was held in great esteem, particularly by underprivileged segments of the population, whom he treated free of charge.   

Due to his outstanding achievements in the field of medicine, Dr. Alvares Carneiro garnered several titles and distinctions, including Founding Member of the Medical Society of Rio de Janeiro (current Academia Nacional de Medicina, or National Academy of Medicine – ANM), of which he also served as President in the 1st quarter of 1831. He was further appointed as a Permanent Surgeon at the Royal Imperial Chamber by appointment of Emperor Dom Pedro in 1831, in addition to working as a physician at the Santa Casa da Misericórdia General Hospital of Rio de Janeiro and as a Surgeon at the Third Order of the Carmelites. 

Dr. João Alvares Carneiro passed away on November 18, 1937.

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