The Monasterio Temple of Los Jerónimos has been the scene of the ceremony of investiture of the renowned Ophthalmology professor Joaquín Barraquer as Doctor Honoris Causa by the Catholic University of Murcia. Several personalities of medicine, teaching and society have accompanied the new Doctor in an act presided by José Luis Mendoza, UCAM’s president, María Dolores Pagán, Presidency’s counsellor of the the Region of Murcia; Josefina García Lozano, the Catholic University’s rector; Antonio Montoro, honorary rector of the Institution, and Jerónimo Lajara, vice dean of the Bachelor in Medicine, who imparted the laudatio.
Doctor Barraquer, grandson, son and father of ophthalmologists, imparted a conference named “Cataract surgery, a story I lived”, in which he emphasized that his father, “master and friend, changed the History of Ophthalmology and above all, of cataract surgery”. His career has been centred on the ophthalmologic treatment of the cataract and the glaucoma, making him an innovator in the surgical treatment of both diseases. Likewise, he is a pioneer in the insertion of intraocular lenses to correct myopia; the clinic bearing his name is a world-class reference centre for cornea transplants.
Prior to his nomination, Barraquer expressed his joy and highlighted the catholic character of the Institution. “In the world we’re living in, it is very important to think not only about the patient or about medicine in itself, but also about religion; because without God, we would be nothing and we wouldn’t have a future. We always have to think about acting for the greater good, with peace, serenity and love, above all”.
UCAM’s president, José Luis Mendoza, expressed his joy regarding the integration of Joaquín Barraquer to the faculty of UCAM’s doctors, “one of the big eminences of medicine in Spain and a man who has made History”. Mendoza not only highlighted the professional figure of the professor and all the progresses he realized in his career, but also and above all “his human greatness” and the devotion offered to his patients.
During the laudatio, Jerónimo Lajara highlighted the advances developed by Joaquín Barraquer, and all the distinctions he received over the years. As far as his professional work is concerned, he particularly stressed out that “he managed to transmit his affable work with patients”. Likewise, he pointed out the motto of the ophthalmologist “Treat your patients the way you would like to be treated”, “and this has been his life motto”, emphasized Lajara, referring to his great human work.
During his speech, already as Doctor, Joaquín Barraquer exposed the innovations of his father, Dr. Ignacio Barraquer, in the field of surgeries, among which the invention of a “plastic dome enabling to see the surgery from outside, as if the observer was beside the surgeon, but without interfering with the surgical team”. This tool, designed by his father in 1957, has been modernized and revised and is still used in the operations he performs.
It is also worth highlighting that, in addition to these multiple innovations, UCAM’s new Doctor Honoris Causa also created in 2003 the Barraquer Foundation, which aims to provide ophthalmologic care to people without access to health care. The Ocular Surgery professor ensured that through the funds obtained from the treatment of people coming to his clinic, they take care of patients that don’t have the money for treatment. “They are treated with the same quality, because there can be no difference between a patient and another”. Moreover, the Foundation also collaborates with other countries. “My daughter, the Doctor Elena Barraquer, travels to Africa to take care of patients that can not travel, and who are blind from cataract. She always says that there is nothing better than operating on blind people, than taking off the bandages and hearing them laughing, telling you they can see. And this is the most magnificent thing, worth a thousand prizes”.
The Presidency’s counsellor of the Murcia Region, María Dolores Pagán, who assisted to the act representing the president of the Community, Pedro Antonio Sánchez, ensured that “it is a great honour for the regional government to be here, being part of the act of transcendence of the person named Doctor Honoris Causa”.
Moreover, UCAM’s rector, Josefina García Lozano, highlighted UCAM’s firm commitment to research, which enables the institution to provide a formation of excellence.