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Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Santos, o mais antigo hospital brasileiro.
Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Santos, the oldest Brazilian hospital.
HENRIQUE SEIJI IVAMOTO, EDITOR
Acta Medica Misericordiæ, Centro de Estudos da Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Santos
Ivamoto HS. Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Santos, the oldest Brazilian hospital. Acta Medica Misericordiæ 2003; 6 (1): 13-24
A Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Santos, o mais antigo hospital do país, foi fundada em 1543 no povoado do Porto de São Vicente, primeira vila brasileira. Três anos depois, o povoado do porto foi elevado à condição de vila e, mais tarde, cidade de Santos. Em 1551, o monarca Dom João III outorgou-lhe a Carta Real de Privilégios, a primeira concedida a uma Misericórdia brasileira. Ao final do século XIX, um autor negou o pioneirismo da Santa Casa de Santos, seguido por outro, tentando demonstrar primazia da Santa Casa de Olinda. Basearam-se em interpretações errôneas da carta de um jesuíta e de uma provisão governamental para afirmarem que a Santa Casa de Santos teria sido fundada somente cento e onze anos depois da data real. Alegando haverem lido a transcrição de um documento, ambos não localizados, anteciparam a data de fundação do hospital pernambucano. Um conjunto de documentos e relatos derruba suas teses. Entre esses, ressalta uma pesquisa feita por Ernesto de Souza Campos, professor da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, ministro de Estado e um dos maiores conhecedores da história das Santas Casas brasileiras.
Descritores: Hospitais filantrópicos. História da Medicina. Humanismo. Caridade.
The Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Santos (Holy House of Mercy of Santos) is a charity hospital located in the city of Santos, State of São Paulo, in the Southeastern region of the country. It was founded with the name of Hospital of All Saints in 1543 in the settlement of the port of São Vicente, the first Brazilian village. Three years later, the settlement gained the status of village, under the name of Village of All Saints, and later, the Village of Santos. In 1551, the Portuguese king Dom João III gave the institution the Royal Charter of Privileges, the first conceded to a Brazilian Misericórdia. Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Santos is the oldest hospital in the country. In the last years of the XIX Century, a writer challenged this long held view, followed by two others, who tried to demonstrate that the Santa Casa of Olinda or the one of Rio de Janeiro, were the first Brazilian hospitals. Father Leonardo Nunes wrote a letter from São Vicente, on August 14, 1550, stating that as there was no hospital available, he lodged at the priest’s home. This letter has been mistakenly interpreted by these writers as proof that the village had no hospital. At that time, however, the word ‘hospital’ had two meanings, being used in today’s sense and also in reference to hotel or hostel. In his letter, Nunes used the word hospital meaning hotel or hostel, which he needed for lodging purposes. In the last decade of the 16th Century and in the following years, the village suffered a profound economic depression due to diseases and piracy. The hospital lost its building in 1620. In 1654, the governor Dom Jeronymo de Athayde gave it financial help, writing that at the time the village was in need of a hospital. His decree led the previously mentioned writers to state that the hospital Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Santos was only founded after that time. Francisco Augusto Pereira da Costa stated that the Hospital of Misericórdia in Olinda, in the Northeastern region of Brazil, in today’s State of Pernambuco, had already been built by 1540, according to the transcription he had allegedly seen of an old document that could be found in the archives of the College of Recife. However, the document and its transcription were never presented. The transcription book started being written in 1755. Ernesto de Souza Campos, one of the most knowledgeable historians of the Misericórdias in Brazil, conducted a detailed reserach on the subject, and concluded that the hospital of Santos was the first to be founded in the country. The Misericórdia of Olinda and its hospital were founded by João Paes Barreto, a native of Portugal, who arrived in Pernambuco in 1560. Its royal charter of privileges was issued by Felipe II in 1606. Felix Ferreira, author of “Misericórdia Fluminense”, stated that the Misericórdia of Rio de Janeiro was founded in 1545. At that time, the region was inhabited by the Tamoyo natives and by some Frenchmen, both enemies of the Portuguese. The Portuguese settlers established themselves in the region in 1565. The Jesuit Father José de Anchieta founded the Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Rio de Janeiro, an institution of Portuguese origin, in 1582, in order to help the sick crew and soldiers of the Spanish Admiral Diogo Florez Valdez’ fleet. Although the Santas Casas da Misericórdia of Rio de Janeiro and of Olinda are not as old as those writers alleged them to be, this fact does not diminish the historical relevance and the social and human merits of these traditional institutions. These and the other Misericórdias are respectable national monuments, of vital importance in the construction of the nation.
Key words: Hospitals, voluntary. History of Medicine. Humanism. Charities.