Barcelona 26 Aug 1934 – Noordwijk 10 Dec 2020
The year 2020 will be remembered because of the COVID19 pandemic of which we are suffering the third wave now, but for us, the POG family, it will be the year of the farewell to a man to remember, one of the ISPOG founding fathers, our dear Eylard V. Van Hall.
ISPOG would not be what it is without his outstanding participation. I am sure many of us have received his generous leadership, his legacy, his love for life and for our profession.
As a sample I ‘ll summarise my own experience with him, I was born in Argentina and received most of my medical training in Buenos Aires 1969-77. Freud disciples had emigrated there during the Nazi persecution and penetrated the medical education.
So I had learned to value the importance of psychosocial in Ob Gyn assistance when a cruel dictatorship coupled with economic difficulties, plus the presence of relatives in Alicante made me come to Spain in 1977 in order to learn Ultrasound and obtain the specialist degree.
I felt lonely and “different” from my colleagues, until in 1982 I went to Granada’s Clinical Hospital to meet Prof Vicente Salvatierra who was the only respected and experienced professor in Spain interested in POG. In the library, the sky opened up as I found the first editions of JPOG, my feeling of isolation turned into joy, thanks to Eylard, the Editor of the Journal and President of ISPOG and the colleagues who published the kind of papers I was desperately needing to understand I was not a strange and excentric specialist.
So as soon as I could, in 1985 I went to visit Eylard in Leyden, and new discoveries appeared before me. Eylard was born In Barcelona, lived there until his adolescence, spoke fluent Spanish and was willing to help the foundation of POG Societies in Spain and Argentina, both happened with his presence. In 1986, in Spain, lead by Prof Salvatierra and in 1992 in Argentina, lead by Prof. Carlos Gurucharri, ISPOG president 2000-03.
The door of Eylard´s office had a notice: “When god created man she was only joking” (I only knew male chauvinist Chief professors until then). Eylard had very clear ideas about why ISPOG and the JPOG were needed by Ob Gyn education globally. He had a strong appeal for open-minded colleagues and tremendous ambassadorial skills which guided me so much afterwards.
I recommend you read his thoughts in his own words. (References 1 to 3)
Eylard was always sensitive to art, willing to listen, a warm host successful in making you feel at home, also a very wise adviser. I will never forget my visit to his Dutch home, preparing raw fresh herrings we had bought on the way from the station, well accompanied by a soft Dutch Gin. And his catalán stone house in the Ampurdan where his gifted wife painted, sculpted and taught.
Dear Maia, please receive our condolences and gratitude.
I was so happy to embrace him (and Manfred Stauber of course) in Berlin at the beginning of my term as ISPOG president. Sadly, this was our last hug.
Goodbye dear Eylard.
Thank you so much for enlightening and leading all of us.
Carlos Damonte Khoury
Alicante, Spain, December 2020
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