The Malta Independent 18 January 2022, Tuesday

TMID Editorial: Two great men

Wednesday, 12 January 2022, 10:28 Last update: about 5 days ago

Malta has lost two giants of a man in a matter of days.

Between Christmas and New Year, we learnt of the sudden demise of cardiologist Albert Fenech and the traffic accident which would, one week later, lead to the death of oncologist Victor Calvagna.

Both had made a big name for themselves in their respective medical profession. Both were considered experts in their field. Both offered so much experience and comfort to the people who needed their advice.

Malta is so much poorer in the health sector without them.

Fenech distinguished himself in matters related to the heart. His setting up, together with Alex Manche, of the cardiology department at Mater Dei Hospital was a milestone in the medical field in Malta. Hundreds of patients experienced his dedication and knowledge. Many would say that it is thanks to him that they are still alive.

Calvagna made a name for himself in oncology, in particular in relation to children. He founded and led the Puttinu Cares organisation, which seeks to make life less hard for young patients and their families as they fight the dreaded disease. Like Fenech, many would say that they survived the ordeal thanks to his services.

Their death is, first of all, a loss for their loving families and friends. All one has to do to find out how much they were loved and respected is see what people said about them on the social media. The words of sorrow for their death, and words of praise for all they did are there for all to see. Many of them were written by patients and people who were under their care in the past.

In wider terms, their death is a big loss for the Maltese community as a whole and, in specific terms, the medical profession.

As a result of the investment made in the health sector over decades, by different administrations, Malta can boast of having one of the best health sectors in Europe and the world. We have a hospital service that works wonders in spite of space issues and other limitations.

All governments have given great attention to the development and improvement of the sector, but its success relies largely on the people who operate it. Yes, sometimes we are angry that it takes long for some doctor to see us when we go to the emergency department. Yes, sometimes we get frustrated that our next appointment is several months down the line. Yes, sometimes we do not like it that our scheduled surgery is put off.

But, all in all, the medical service we are provided with at the public hospital is one that should make us proud. The professional teams – and this does not only include the doctors and the nurses – take utmost care of each and every patient under their responsibility.

When, then, doctors like Fenech and Calvagna come along with their profound understanding, the medical service offered in Malta goes a notch or two higher.

That is why they will be missed.

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