WFNS President Servadei - William Scoville Award Committee
Leónidas M. Quintana
“Franco Servadei: The great manager and the immense person”
If there is something that this pandemic is bequeathing or contributing to us, it is time. Time to read, remember, analyze and meditate. And on the other hand, the way we carry out our daily activities typical of our specialty has changed, with the increasingly growing teleconference commitments, which are much more frequent than before the pandemic, and really force us, much more than before, to contribute to our academic level. Of course, this does not replace meeting our colleagues in a conference, shaking hands, calmly chatting for a drink, and showing our affection and sympathy, socially sharing these conferences and enjoying our more human and less doctoral side – the doctoral side, sadly, being somewhat calculated. Now in a pandemic – exposing our human traits – our doctoral side is generally absent.
Regarding Franco Servadei, I must confess that until the interim meeting of the WFNS in Rome, September 2015, I only knew him for his career in the WFNS Neurotrauma Committee. I found his ideas and contributions to this subspecialty very good every time I had the opportunity to listen to a Neurotrauma lecture. I have dedicated myself more to Vascular pathology. In that meeting, the delegates from Latin American countries contacted me, knowing that I am Honorary President of the WFNS, and they explained to me that it was important to vote for Franco Servadei as President-Elect. We were purely united by the need to have a Latin President. Later we should develop more meetings with him, so that he would know even more about our experiences and realities of Latin American neurosurgery. Of course I agreed, and I think we chose our President-Elect very well. All was happy in the eternal and beautiful city – Rome.
After this meeting, in Surabaya, Indonesia 2016, where I was invited by my unforgettable great colleague and friend, Yoko Kato, I was able to meet our President-Elect again. Together with my friend Russell Andrews we wanted to invite and enthuse him to a type of adventure tourism – visiting Mount Bromo – where from dawn we were enthusiastic about this approach to nature (watching a geological spectacle rarely seen, with 3 or 4 volcanoes erupting at the same time!!!), but unfortunately we could not enjoy his company. Just quick meetings in the lobby, and discussions at some conferences.
The following year, in Istanbul 2017, I could already notice the great manager and leader of our WFNS. In the administrative meetings I was able to meet the capable academic and, of course, his "Italian" way of solving various problems that always arise in institutions that bring together a large number of colleagues – and above all, with the genius of neurosurgeons. I was appointed by Franco to join some Committees, such as the Scoville Award Committee and the Mass Casualty Committee, led by my friend Michiyasu Suzuki from Japan. We continue in academic contact, and encouraged in a good way by Franco, I think we have done a good job.
The following year, during the Latin American Congress held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia 2018, I finally got to know Franco more closely, who this time traveled with his nice wife Constanza. Of course we shared scientific meetings, and I was able to appreciate the great respect that our Latin American colleagues have for him, that we see him very close and, as our president, and that we can have some influence with him as the head of the WFNS.
At the end of the scientific sessions, my great and remembered friend Ramiro Alvarado (RIP) and his wife Rossy proposed us to take a tour to the Amazon, together with Franco and Constanza, with my wife Susana and I. We quickly got on a plane from Santa Cruz to the city of Trinidad located where the Amazon begins, and the 6 of us arrived to enjoy an adventure in the middle of the Amazon. Finally !!
There we boarded a floating hotel, called the Queen of Enin, and began the experience with other tourists who came from Sweden. The truth is that the ship was designed Indiana Jones style, without major comforts, but efficient in its navigation, and supported by locals who know the nooks and crannies of those lands. Together with Franco and Constanza we were able to have moments of frank closeness enjoying those beautiful landscapes, and meeting the pink dolphins of the Amazon – how to observe lizards, monkeys and birds of that beautiful region, in addition to enjoying the gastronomy of the Amazon. The last day was dedicated to a journey by land, in a very dense jungle, observing the spectacular flora of this region. The problem was that the walk was calculated for an hour and we took almost 3 hours, as there were some mishaps, such as mosquitoes that almost ate us. In fact the guides had to remove a Swedish tourist due to mosquito bites, my wife landed in the mud entangled in a lianas (vines), and we were lunch for the giant ants. We all ended up semi-dehydrated, and crying out for us to return to the ship as soon as possible.
When we got to the ship we all went straight to bathe, some in the very waters of the Amazon, and others in the showers of the boat heated with alcohol. At first Franco was very reluctant to this type of refreshment, since the water was frankly earthy brown, but that day he was one of the first to come out bathed and showered!!! The heat was unbearable. Then when we returned to Trinidad, the 6 of us went to a typical restaurant and we recovered eating alligator meat with yucca.
Those moments served to get to know each other much better: the “professor” is forgotten, and the most spontaneous thing comes out of each person. Since then I have appreciated Franco and Constanza more. I think we had the great opportunity to meet the person that many of us carry inside – the person who deserves my admiration not only for his performance as a great leader of the WFNS, but for his great value as a person.
I wanted to write these words to help many to love Franco Servadei more than to admire him.