Hermilio Valdizán - The Father of Peruvian Psychiatry

18:09 M.K.Orange 0 Comments


Throughout history it is easy to forget those that made a change to society as many others take the limelight, so for this article I shall write about Hermilio Valdizán who specialized in the areas of psychiatry and neurology and helped bring awareness to these subjects in a time where in Peru these subjects were not well explored.
Hermilio Valdizán Medrano was born on the 20th of November 1885 in Huánuco,Peru to Mr. Hermilio Valdizán and Mrs. Juana Medrano and in 1894 they moved to Lima. At the age of 18, Valdizan entered Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (National University of San Marcos) after six years of studying he graduated from Medicine with his thesis “La delincuencia en el Perú” (Crime in Peru,1909) which he documented various factors of crime in social groups in Peru. 
After he was awarded a scholarship he then travelled to Bolonia, Italy in 1911 where he studied and he continued to travel to places like France and Switzerland and this where he specialized in psychiatry however, the outbreak of First World War made him return to Peru in 1914. 
A year after his return to Peru on the 27th of November 1915 he graduated as a doctor with his thesis “Los factores etiológicos de la alienación mental “(The etiological factors of mental alienation)


With this he created the first outpatient clinic of Nervous and Mental Illness in the Hospital Dos de Mayo and also became the first professor of Neuropathology and Psychiatry in Peru, teaching not only psychiatry but about the methods of treatment.
It was well known that Valdizán opposed the treatment used for patients at that time for example the use of straitjackets and stocks which he deemed inhumane. He proposed and used more scientific methods in treating his patients believing that fair treatment of the patient would help them in the long run. 


Valdizán was also well informed about the treatment methods of the towns and communities of the highlands and the jungle, he also studied the damaging effects of the “Peruvian Wart”or Carrion’s Disease. Valdizán even studied the history of medicine and in 1913 published his work called “La facultad de Medicina de Lima” (The faculty of Medicine) in which he describes how the study of medicine changed during different eras of Peru the conquest, the colonial times and the republic. He continued to work in the field of psychiatry and neurology occasionally writing for a newspaper. 
Hermilio Valdizán died on the 25th of December 1929 due to heart issues; he is known as “The Father of Peruvian Psychiatry” and on the 20th of November in Peru is known as Día de la Psiquiatría (Day of Psychiatry) and is day to remember the work of Hermilio Valdizán Medrano however, this day is commonly forgotten.

By: GringoPerú

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