Eduardo Bruera, a world leader in palliative care, invested doctor honoris causa by UIC Barcelona

In his keynote speech, the Argentine oncologist stressed the importance of incorporating knowledge in palliative care with the arrival of artificial intelligence that will not replace the ability to listen and support

On 18 May, Oncologist Eduardo Bruera, a world leader in palliative care, was invested doctor honoris causa by UIC Barcelona in a solemn ceremony held in the University’s Aula Magna lecture theatre.

Bruera, who in 1999 founded the Department of Palliative Medicine, Rehabilitation and Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson (Houston), the largest in the United States, mourned that “we are in the same place we were 25 years ago in palliative care, despite the fact that palliative care implies economic savings,” and that “the money, structures and efforts are being invested in the disease, not in the patient.”

In his keynote address, titled “Palliative care in today’s society”, the specialist urged public and private healthcare system administrations, the pharmaceutical industry and hospital managers to commit to palliative care, which “must become a permanent structure.” According to the specialist, “it is an opportunity to incorporate palliative care knowledge before the arrival of an artificial intelligence that will not replace the ability to listen and support.”

After congratulating the clinic Cuides UIC Barcelona for its role in caring for people at the end of life, Bruera reminded that palliative care began to emerge in the 60s outside the academic teaching staff.

During his speech, he stressed the need of “an interdisciplinary team” that cares for patients and their families through “specialised units”. In his opinion, “we have to alleviate suffering; there is a lot of unnecessary suffering.” He also stressed the importance of “maintaining” telemedicine with the aim of “reaching small populations and that patients are able to receive specialised treatment.”

Previously, Josep Porta, director of the WeCare Chair: End-of-Life Care at UIC Barcelona (2013-2021) and former head of the Palliative Care Service at the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), highlighted in his laudatio the “contributions of Eduardo Bruera to general medicine and to palliative care, which take on extraordinary value, especially if one considers the little attention and funding that these disciplines have received until only a few years ago.” And Porta reminded us that Bruera “has maintained a leading research team that has made pioneering contributions that have been incorporated and consolidated as a standard practice in palliative care over the last 30 years.”

Porta also wanted to highlight Bruera’s role demonstrated through different clinical trials, how the design of a specific physical structure in both outpatient and hospital settings, and truly patient-centred mutidisciplinary care could offer physical, emotional and decision-making benefits to patients and their families. “He has always been able to transmit this clear vision that the sick person should be and is the centre of our care in a proverbial and very didactic way,” he concluded.

The event ended with a speech by UIC Barcelona Rector Alfonso Méndiz, who highlighted Bruera’s ability “to place the person at the heart of medical care, with medicine to serve people, not just science or knowledge.” According to Méndiz, “Compassion, empathy and respect for human dignity are just as important in Bruera’s medical practice as medical skills.”

The rector confirmed that the prestigious palliative care physician “applied his talent to create a new clinical assessment methodology that has become a world reference,” and had the ability to demonstrate that “greatness and success cannot be separated from generosity toward others.” “In a technified world that brings new disruptions like artificial intelligence every day, Bruera has been able to keep science serving people,” he emphasised.

This event was the prelude to the kick-off of the People, Care and Society Symposium, which will take place at UIC Barcelona from 18 to 20 May.



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